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Houston-based flood warning system to bring life-saving alerts to Southeast drivers during severe weather events

The system will use sensors to monitor roads for high water and deliver real-time alerts to a person’s phone.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A new highway upgrade could deliver life-saving information to Southeast Texas drivers during severe weather events.

TranStar, a Houston-based flood warning system, is expanding into the Southeast Texas region. The system will use sensors to monitor roads for high water and deliver real-time alerts to a person’s phone.

So far, TranStar has tied into 77 sensors that are owned and operated by Jefferson County Drainage District No. 6. Officials with the company said that before Harvey, Southeast Texas drivers could not get reliable real-time information. This system is aiming to change that.

“During heavy rainfall, during severe weather events, people are looking at the real-time data that we push out, so we want to communicate as much safety information as we can when it's needed,” Joshua Shideler, Houston TranStar public information officer, said.

The next time streets begin to flood, it will be easier for drivers to know which roads are under water.

“The tool that we built synthesizes rainfall and stream elevation data with traffic information in real time to identify where that local roadway flooding is highly likely to be occurring,” Shideler said.

Shidler encourages Southeast Texans to download the Houston TranStar app or visit the TranStar website to check on real-time flood alerts.

“It enhances traveler safety in the region, throughout the region, by giving drivers really dependable, reliable information to avoid roadways that are likely to be flooded during heavy rain events,” Shideler said.

Shideler believes the new roadway flood warning system, that has already helped in Houston, will have a positive impact in Southeast Texas.

“All we can do is push the information that we can, safety information throughout the year,” Shidler said. “Let residents know what tools are available to them, so that they can make smart decisions before they travel, and before they hit the road."

Drivers in the region already feel that the real-time data will help. They said they know that it does not take a hurricane to cause major flooding.

“I drive a low car, so it’ll be good to know ahead of time,” Mallory Guilott, Southeast Texas driver, said.

Shideler said that TranStar plans to expand the roadway flood warning system to other areas along the Texas coast in the future.

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