KUT 90.5: “Imagine it’s 2 in the morning, and you are one of the first responders to the scene of a flood. Your vehicle approaches water on the road. If you try to cross it, you could be washed away. So you stop and watch your headlights cut through the rain. You see there’s water around some nearby houses, but it’s dark and you don’t know how far it reaches or how deep it is. What you decide to do next could save lives — and put your own at risk. This situation is not hypothetical to Harry Evans. He says it could describe many floods he worked during his 30 years with the Austin Fire Department. In a best-case scenario, Evans says, first responders would immediately understand the scope of the flood they are approaching, including the amount of ground covered by water and the depth of that water. But at night that can be difficult. The challenge, he says, is often figuring out how bad it is. “How much are we flooded?” Since retiring from the department in 2015, Evans has joined a team of researchers at UT Austin working on a new way to get answers to those questions. They say the tool they are developing, an app and online database called Pin2Flood, might do the trick. The project was recently awarded a $1.6 million grant to continue its development over the next two years…”
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