Flooded Car

New Flood Warning System in Bryan Will Save Lives

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has released a story about a new flood warning system in Bryan that will save lives and protect property. TWDB helped fund the system, which reportedly cost a fraction of most hardscape projects.

The system consists of sensors on bridges that are linked to flashing lights. They warn motorists when water has topped the bridge.

Screen capture from TWDB Video of new Bryan system.

The system reduces the lag time between when water goes over a road and authorities can block it off.

How Most Flood Related Deaths Happen

“That’s very important because most flood-related deaths occur because of people trying to drive or walk through flood water of an unknown depth. A lot of times it’s moving very fast. And so it’s very important to alert people as fast as we can,” said Sam Vernon, Assistant City Engineer for the City of Bryan.

Flashing Beacons Save Lives

Jacob Torres, a Civil Engineer with Torres & Associates, said, “We’re trying to minimize that delay to essentially zero. Folks that are traveling within proximity to a crossing that’s about to flood are going to be informed through visual, automated flashing beacons that are going to instruct them and guide them to turn around, don’t drown.

Jeff Walker, Executive Director of the TWDB added, “These kinds of projects are not that expensive as opposed to hardscape and, you know, big capital projects. But they save lives.” Walker also said, “Texas leads the nation in deaths from drownings from low water crossings.”

To see the full TWDB video, click here.

Could Benefit Harris County

While Harris County has a sophisticated Flood Warning System, that is the envy of most other areas, it does not include flashing warning lights near flood hot spots. It consists of hundreds of bridge-mounted gages. The Harris County system warns people over the internet when floodwaters will overtake bridges and roads and neighborhoods. However, during Harvey, most communication systems were knocked out.

I have a friend on the Harris County Community Resilience Flood Task Force who lost five family members during Harvey. Floodwaters swept them off a bridge over Greens Bayou as they were trying to evacuate.

A system like Bryan’s could be a valuable addition to Harris County’s Flood Warning System. Most of the gage infrastructure and electronic communications are already in place. We just need to link them to the flashing lights so panicky people fleeing a flood don’t make fatal miscalculations.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/14/24

2389 Days since Hurricane Harvey