Scientists installing more sea level sensors around Chatham County ahead of hurricane season

Scientists installing more sea level sensors in Chatham County

CHATHAM COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - Scientists were out Friday installing more sea level sensors around Chatham County.

WTOC has been following this project that tracks tide data around the county. With hurricane season coming up, Smart Sea Level Sensor project coordinators are installing more of them to better to predict food levels and to keep the data for future use.

“The reason we’re doing so many sensors is to get very precise information on where the water is rising in different pats of the community in different types of storm events.”

Georgia Tech Senior Research Scientist Russell Clark is one of the lead researches over the sensor project, which got started last year. Their goal was to have 100 sensors installed across the county by 2019.

“We eventually want to have 100. We expect 50 by August, the heart of hurricane season,” Clark said.

Well on track to meet that goal, Clark says Friday was a time to focus on other areas other than the coastal areas like Tybee and Wilmington islands.

“What we’re doing today is actually looking at more inland installations,” Clark said. “Here we are on a canal on Dean Forest Road because we know that flooding happens here too, and the property can be impacted by rising water, and so we want to make sure we have that picture from across Chatham County, not just out on the coast.”

He says the sensors are installed in potential flood areas. Connected to the internet, scientists can track how high and at what location the water peaks.

“I think the most important thing that we see is that we don’t have to wait for a hurricane to get interesting flooding and serious impact."

“When Matthew came through, certain areas flooded, and then when Irma came though, another section of the town flooded, and so what we’re trying to do is use the sensors to help explain why different storms cause different flooding,” said city flood plain permitting administrator, Tom McDonald.

Both McDonald and Clark are hoping this real time information will help coastal communities to better plan for rising sea levels.

Project coordinators and city leaders are inviting the public to a meeting next Thursday night at the Jepson Center in Savannah. They want to share how the project has gone so far as well as find out how you would like to get updates in the future.

Copyright 2019 WTOC. All rights reserved.