WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Williamson County’s commissioners court Tuesday approved its emergency management department to acquire its first-ever real-time flood mapping application. This in an effort to improve emergency responses in the event of severe weather and flooding.
Michael Shoe, emergency management director for the county, said the FloodMapp system provides data that predicts where and how much rain will fall at any given time. It also provides real-time flood updates and looks ahead 72 hours to what areas would be affected most by a flood.
He said the system will be incorporated into his department’s storm-tracking arsenal within the week and will later be integrated into the county’s emergency alert system, WarnCentralTexas.
“We have a lot more people to warn. New residents of the county and other cities, we don’t want to fail them,” Shoe said.
The price tag of getting the data-system is about $750,000 to be paid using funds from a 2019 road bond, Shoe said.
Juliette Murphy, CEO and co-founder of FloodMapp, said several data-sources are used to compile the data given to the company’s clients.
“There are meteorology models, climate models, the flood gauge sensors that are collecting river flow and height information, as well as the terrain model,” Murphy said.
Residents like Laura McNabb who lives in the county outside Cedar Park know the destruction flooding can have all too well.
Back in the fall of 2022, KXAN spoke with McNabb about flooding at her home alleged to be caused by development built near her home.
Since then, McNabb said flood waters have continued to wreak havoc on her home’s plumbing. She said she is hopeful the new technology will keep track of problem spots in the county.
“It’s eroded our septic field to the point where that is needing to be completely replaced. So that’s a lot of expense on us. It’s great they’ll have eyes to see those situations that are dangerous,” McNabb said.