Williamson County will soon begin using an operational flood intelligence system to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergency floods.

The big picture

County officials signed a contract with real-time flood intelligence company FloodMapp on June 6 after the Williamson County Commissioners Court approved the move at a May 23 meeting.

The contract enables Williamson County’s Office of Emergency Management to begin accessing FloodMapp’s ForeCast, NowCast and PostCast products, which document the extent of a flood before, during and after it takes place.

“This will help emergency responders and the public take appropriate action ahead of a flood event, support flood response activities and enable post-flood analysis to streamline community recovery,” Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said in a news release.

The background

Williamson County has proved vulnerable to flooding. The county has closed low water crossings every year due to flooding and experienced some of its most significant flooding from the San Gabriel River in 2018 and Tropical Storm Hermine in 2010, said Connie Odom, the county's director of communications and media relations.

“This will ultimately help Williamson County reduce flood impact to people, property and critical infrastructure," FloodMapp CEO and co-founder Juliette Murphy said. "Currently, no single system exists within the county to gather and display flood conditions during an event. So, this dynamic information will revolutionize the county’s response to flooding."

The details

ForeCast, which maps the predicted depth and extent of a flood, will be used for:
  • targeted alerts and evacuations
  • road closures
  • issuance of flood barriers and sandbags
  • targeting where to deploy emergency workers and resources
NowCast live maps the depth and extent of a flood in real time, providing:
  • up-to-date situational awareness
  • safety for emergency personnel who no longer have to visit dangerous areas to confirm the extent of a flood
PostCast maps the maximum extent of the flood after water begins receding, supporting:
  • targeted disaster relief resources and funding
  • funding applications for post-disaster grants
The $750,000 project is funded by the voter-approved 2019 Road Bond Program and will be implemented this summer, Odom said.