Equipment Type

Alexa Skill 'Storm Sense' Monitors Virginia Beach Flooding

Solar-powered ultrasonic sensors from Valarm upload wind speed and water level data to the cloud every six minutes.

March 27, 2018
Valarm solar-powered ultrasonic sensors upload wind speed and water level data to the cloud

East Coast storms knocked out power and flooded coastlines in Virginia this winter, leading Governor Ralph Northam to declare a state of emergency this month.

To get ahead of the water, flood sensors are being installed in the Hampton Roads area of southeastern Virginia to provide local government officials with early warnings and supporting emergency management with new streams of data. The solar-powered ultrasonic sensors from Valarm upload wind speed and water level data to the cloud every six minutes. Virginia Beach has connected its system to the Amazon Alexa Storm Sense skill that allows anyone to pull data from the cloud. Eventually, the sensors could automatically send text alerts whenever the water is expected to rise past a given threshold within the next 36 hours.

In 2017, the City of Virginia Beach won $50,000 in cloud storage credit from Amazon Web Services (AWS) City on a Cloud Innovation Contest with which it started the flood sensor project. To get around paperwork and delays, the city installed the sensors on city-managed properties instead of state DOT locations.

Virginia Beach is being joined by other flood-prone towns in the region. Read more on how Virginia's proactive data management is helping coastal cities more resilient here.

Image courtesy of Valarm.

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