New Stream “EKGs” Aim to Improve Ellicott City’s Flood Safety

Baltimore Sun article (2018-05-21) announced that a series of “smart” internet-connected stream gauges (referred to as “EKGs” by Howard County Council Member Jon Weinstein) will be installed throughout the Tiber-Hudson watershed around Ellicott City to provide better flood warnings. The article stated that 48 gauges will be installed in 16 different locations in the watershed. The installations are possible due to a partnership with the National Weather Service and the Department of Homeland Security.

County Executive Allan Kittleman applauded the project at the announcement outside the Ellicott City Colored School on Frederick Road. The building is on the edge of the historic district, an area where properties have been built on top of narrow, winding stream channels prone to flooding, and that in 2016 fell victim to six inches of rain in two hours that sent waters down Main Street and killed two people.

“This is what happens when the community, the government officials, the national entities as well, come together for the right thing and good things can happen,” [Howard County Executive Allan] Kittleman said. …

“We used to have to rely on modeling and simulation, but now through the internet of things, these sensors [can] provide us with this kind of information in real time that’s really going to change a lot on the community response, for our emergency management officials and others,” [Homeland Security Program Director David] Alexander said.

The article noted that the gauge installation process will begin in June of 2018 and continue throughout the summer. The gauges will remain in a location for 6-12 months and then be moved to a new location to build a more complete picture of the hydrodynamics of the watershed. Ultimately, program advocates hope that the gauges will lead to better flooding predictions and an improved warning system for when flooding is about to occur.

The article also discussed some of the other anti-flooding actions being taken for the Ellicott City region.