Rising Waters: Flooding Issues across the East Coast
Oct 6, 2023

Rising Waters: Flooding Issues across the East Coast

The Rising Waters: Flooding Issues across the East Coast

The Eastern United States has recently dealt with a series of flooding incidents, causing significant disruptions and damages to infrastructure, utilities, and daily life. Climate change is resulting in flooding vulnerabilities in areas that were not previously identified as flood-prone by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

A closer look at recent events reveals the extent of the problem and the challenges faced by communities in the region.

Infrastructure Vulnerabilities in Longboat Key, Florida

In Longboat Key, Florida, the combination of a king tide and Hurricane Idalia's storm surge led to the flooding of low-lying areas, causing the failure of 20 underground transformers. This left approximately 400 Longboat residents without power. While power was restored within 15 hours, the incident raised concerns about the resilience of underground transformers to flooding events. Local utility representatives maintained that undergrounding remains the best option, but the transformers were not designed to be fully submerged. The company has initiated a thorough forensic investigation to determine the cause of the failures and to improve the system's resilience against future flooding events.

Power Outages and Flooding in Massachusetts

Massachusetts experienced localized flooding, leaving thousands without power. The hardest-hit areas were Middlesex and Essex County, with nearly 9,000 customers losing electricity in Essex County alone. The primary electricity provider in the region had to deploy about 1,000 workers to restore power. The flooding also prompted flash flood warnings in several areas, highlighting the need for better preparedness and infrastructure resilience.

Tropical Storm Ophelia's Impact on the Mid-Atlantic Region

Tropical Storm Ophelia, which made landfall on a Saturday morning in North Carolina, brought with it a series of challenges for the Mid-Atlantic region. While the storm's flooding was not as severe as initially predicted, it still caused significant disruptions. The storm unleashed heavy rain across Virginia and North Carolina, leading to localized flooding. By Saturday afternoon, Ophelia had moved into Virginia, where residents were warned of potential flash flooding.

The storm's impact was evident in photos and videos showing downed trees and widespread coastal flooding inundating entire neighborhoods. Power outages were another major concern, with more than 57,000 homes and businesses from North Carolina to Pennsylvania and New Jersey left without electricity by Saturday afternoon.

As Ophelia continued its path northward, it was expected to bring heavy rain and wind gusts as far north as New York and New England. The storm serves as a reminder of the region's vulnerability to tropical storms and the importance of preparedness and adaptive measures.

EKN Engineering's Pioneering Approach to Flood Monitoring and Asset Protection

These recent flooding events highlight the urgent need for advanced flood monitoring and rapid response mechanisms. EKN Engineering offers real-time observation of flooding events, enabling timely assessments of post-event damages to critical assets. By leveraging this state-of-the-art technology, EKN Engineering can pinpoint the exact locations, depths, and length of time of inundation, providing invaluable data to guide immediate repair and restoration efforts.

EKN Engineering’s location intelligence framework incorporates this real-time data and EKN’s extensive asset management experience to provide insights that ensures that the most vulnerable and critical assets are addressed promptly, reducing the potential for prolonged power outages and further infrastructure damage.

During the West Coast’s 2022-2023 atmospheric river event, EKN Engineering identified a total of 3,500+ transmission assets that had been inundated across a major utility company’s service area in California.

Enhancing Electrical System Resilience in the Face ofFlooding

Flooding poses multifaceted challenges to electrical systems, from corroding steel structures to eroding foundations and damaging critical electrical components. EKN Engineering's comprehensive approach to flood risk assessment and asset protection is designed to address these challenges head-on. EKN’s holistic solution identifies affected assets but also provides insights into the extent of damage enabling targeted and efficient repair efforts, ensuring that power is restored as quickly as possible to affected areas.

·     Flood Hazard Mapping: identify flood-prone areas and at-risk assets.

·     Post Event Risk Assessment: quantifies flood damage potential, guiding mitigation strategies.

·     Emergency Response Planning: precise evacuation and resource deployment plans.

·     Real-Time Monitoring: continuous flood monitoring and alerts.

·     Flood Modeling: predicts flood impacts on Electrical assets.

·     Asset Prioritization: ranks assets based on criticality, value, and flood risk.

·     Post-Flood Assessment: quick damage assessments Post-flood for faster recovery.

EKN Engineering’s proactive maintenance solutions and cutting-edge technology, ensure that electrical infrastructure remains resilient, even in the face of increasing meteorological uncertainties - essential for safeguarding communities and ensuring the reliability of electrical systems.

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