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Recently, Montgomery County officials released information about a new High-Tech Flood Sensor Program that can provide early warning of potential flooding.

Montgomery County recently showcased an expanded early-warning Flood Sensor Program that can alert residents more quickly of flooded highways, potential dam failures, and overflowing river flows. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Directorate of Science and Technology provides sensors for the County.

Sensors detect rising water levels and provide early warning of high water levels or flooding. They are installed in flood-prone locations throughout the Regency. Each sensor is solar powered and has an internal battery to maintain operation during inclement weather. The sensor uses a tethered knot that is placed underwater. The node detects the amount of pressure placed on it by the water and calculates the water depth. Every five minutes, data is sent from the sensor by the phone card to the main screen. The small color camera also sends the image back to the main display. Each location has a predefined water depth threshold for the sensor to warn that the water level is approaching or exceeding the flood stage. If so, crews are sent to investigate potential flooding and whether low-lying roads need to be cleared, or if an Emergency Action Plan for the dam needs to be activated.

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is leading the effort to procure the sensor and the County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) is working on a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with DHS and Intellisense Systems Inc., the company that makes the device. County will share the data collected by the sensors with the company and DHS to improve sensor designs based on user feedback.

“This partnership between DHS and County is critical to our efforts to warn residents of Montgomery County of dangerous and life-threatening flooding,” said County Executive Elrich. “Just a few weeks ago, heavy rains caused flash flooding that left several drivers stranded in their vehicles in Bethesda. Floods also caused road closures in several districts. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. The counties are no strangers to these kinds of weather events, but now that we have these flood sensors, we can tell residents more quickly where a flood is happening so they can avoid danger.”

Sensors have been installed in 22 locations. 13 additional sensors will be created. The installed sensor locations are:

Learn more about the District’s flood preparations.

For emergency text notifications, visit

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