Sensors put to test during flash flooding

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The Halloween floods that affected so many in Austin last year also displaced several San Marcos residents living along the Comal River.

Flood lights in some low-lying neighborhood might have helped reroute traffic ahead of time.

Seventeen low water crossing monitors in place have works exactly as designed, emergency coordinators say. The sensors trigger yellow warning lights and activate gate closings.

“The sensors…monitor the water rising, and they’ll report out how far the water is below the bridge,” said Kharley Smith, Emergency Management Coordinator for Hays County. “They have proved to be very efficient for our public.”

Kharley doesn’t have exact number but says the warning lights have worked by reducing water rescue calls during heavy storms.

“The response that I’m receiving from our citizens is they utilize the website, the map, and then the lights themselves as a deterrent for crossing low water crossings,” Kharley added.

But Kharley knows all the technology in the world won’t work unless you have the right people monitoring the system.

“I feel like we’re really a team in Hays County,” she said. “All different disciplines and all different avenues, we work well together. We have our operations and our communication channels open
and communicate regularly.”

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