On Mother’s Day of 2008, high tides, strong northeast winds and heavy rains left a handful of tiny communities along the Delaware Bay in Kent County under several feet of water.
The storm left in its wake one fatality, dozens of people homeless and more than $1 million in property damage, but it also prompted state officials and University of Delaware researchers to put their heads together to develop an early warning system for coastal flooding to facilitate planning in the future.
The result was an alert notification system and website displaying pertinent information regarding forecasted local water levels. It initially focused on six coastal communities along the Delaware Bay—Leipsic, Little Creek, Pickering Beach, Kitts Hummock, Bowers Beach and Slaughter Beach—for testing the system, but it has since been expanded.
Launched in 2011, the Coastal Flood Monitoring System (CFMS) supports planning and emergency management for Delaware Bay communities before and during coastal storm or high tide events. It was developed by John Callahan, a research associate for the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS), and Kevin Brinson, a researcher for the Delaware Environmental Observing System (DEOS). The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Delaware EPSCoR program funded the project.
The CFMS includes several elements:
- An early warning system that alerts emergency managers and coastal resource managers of potentia