Throughout Delaware, numerous roadways and transportation structures are adversely affected by significant weather and flooding events. This has led to extensive damage to critical infrastructure, altered transportation routes, and restricted access to communities for emergency responders. In the latest Delaware State Hazard Mitigation Plan (2013), across all three counties, flooding is ranked as the number one risk hazard, natural or man-made, with other weather-related hazards rounding out the top three. To address this issue, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) through both the Traffic Management Center (TMC) and the Division of Planning has begun to implement a statewide transportation weather and flood monitoring and warning system. This system will consist of hydrologic and meteorological monitoring stations at key transportation locations, a predictive weather and flood monitoring system, as well as software and communication systems to incorporate the hydrologic information into DelDOT’s existing operational framework.
The Delaware Environmental Observing System (DEOS) and the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) worked closely with DelDOT to provide initial background technical information and to make recommendations on how such a system may be further developed that could be incorporated into future DelDOT strategic plans. DEOS and DGS conducted surveys with Delaware stakeholders and practitioners, held interviews with focus groups of direct responders to weather and flood emergencies, researched best practices for weather and flood monitoring, and performed geospatial analysis to determine the available monitoring and prediction assets to identify gaps in weather and flood monitoring data. Existing monitoring networks and available forecast guidance systems for meteorological and hydrologic conditions in the state were reviewed and mapped. Information gathered through these various methods was compiled and composed into a technical report and will ultimately aid DelDOT and other State Agencies in becoming more resilient to weather and flood-related natural hazards.