AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you’re curious about how much rain is falling near work, school or home, you can now access new and improved real-time rainfall totals from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
The city of Austin partnered with the Lower Colorado River Authority to launch the new website, ATXhydromet.com.
The site displays data from 78 rain gauges maintained by the city’s Watershed Protection Department. This is the first time the public has had access to the information in two and a half years.
Austin’s Floodplain Administrator Kevin Shunk has been working to improve the system since before the Halloween Flood of 2013.
“One of the items that came out of the after-action report was the rain gauge data wasn’t communicating well enough.”
That helped speed up the process of getting a better technology in place.
The city is paying the LCRA to host and maintain the website, which will eventually include other critical information during flooding such as the creek “stage” — how high the water in a creek has risen at the gauge site.
“We’re in the heart of flash flood alley, here in Austin,” said Joe Pantalion, P.E., the director of the Watershed Protection Department. “With our propensity for flooding, I can’t stress how important it is for everyone to be aware of their surroundings. It is our hope that this web site can help the public monitor flooding conditions, so that they can take the appropriate steps to protect themselves, their families and their neighbors.”
The City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department has been using a combination of city, United States Geological Survey (USGS) and LCRA gauges to monitor rainfall and flood levels in order to protect the public from flooding and to close low water crossings since the 1980s. LCRA already has reliable and stable technology in place to display their own gauge data.
Watershed Protection’s online tools to help prepare for and respond to flooding now include:
- ATXhydromet.com – Real-time rainfall and creek stage data
- ATXfloods.com – Real-time map of flooded roads
- ATXfloods.com/alerts – A service to send text or email messages about flood hazards on roadways or along creeks
- ATXfloodpro.com – Online floodplain information including maps and engineering models
The city hopes the public can access these tools to increase their awareness of the conditions around them during floods.