Coastal flooding and sea level rise is a rapidly growing threat, especially for regions like Chatham County. On the Georgia coast, 60% of major flood events have occured since 2015, with both flood intensity and frequency increasing. Due to these changing environmental conditions, a better framework needs to be developed to better prepare and inform residents during three crucial time horizons. (1) Before a flood: providing informed, data-driven decisions of high-risk flood areas before a flooding emergency (2) during a flood: real-time information that can drive emergency responses and (3) after a flood: detailed assessments of compromised infrastructure.   

Our work this summer is based out Chatham country and the city of Savannah. We are working on an extension of an ongoing research project that uses sensors to monitor water heights at various locations along the coast. Currently, there are 30 sensors deployed (shown in the map below), with the goal of having 50 installed by the end of the summer. Water depth, air temperature and humidity data from these sensors are available via a public REST API.

The complexity of Chatham’s river systems combined with the increasing effects of climate change results in complex flooding patterns. We will focus on analyzing the sensor data to discover any underlying trends in water depths. More specifically, we plan to compare closely grouped sensors to detect more detailed patterns in flooding such as minor variations caused by local geography. Through data analysis and mapping visualization tools, we hope to gain insight into the occurrence of floods and the predictors surrounding flood events, ultimately using this information to create useful visualizations to communicate the patterns to the community.