Cape May County Set to Release Real Time Flood Risk Mapping System

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Officials with the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management are launching a new flood mapping system to help better protect those at risk from tidal flooding. 

Martin Pagliughi, Emergency Management Director, Cape May County, says the new system is designed to estimate the flow for the next four days – displaying what a flood will look like at predetermined foot stage intervals.

“When a flood warning goes out, it says move your car to higher ground," says Pagliughi. "They look around and say, where’s higher ground? It all looks the same to me, so now they can actually go in it and see where they can move their vehicles." 

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The first GIS based flood modeling program in the state of New Jersey will now help those in Cape May County, detect potential danger for area flooding, in near real time.

“We used the U.S.G.S. tide gauges for years, but ... we did our own conversions because U.S.G.S. tide gauges elevations are in NAVD 1988, which is not what the National Weather Service uses for their projections," says Pagliughi. "So we kinda did our own calculations and converted it, but now since National Weather converted it for us, we take their data and it made it a lot easier.” 

Pagliughi says the program will benefit all 16 communities in Cape May County, but officials are still working on perfecting the flood risk mapping system.

“So it may look under certain flood conditions that bridges are under water when they’re really not," says Pagliughi. "We’re working on something now where you take hash marks and at certain elevations, and just cross out and put a line through the bridges. There is a disclaimer that explains that.”

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Overall, Pagliughi says the system has already worked for first responders during previous tidal flooding events.

“I had a couple of the emergency municipal managers work with it during those storms and from what I’ve heard the feedback so far is pretty accurate,” says Pagliughi.

The system is not yet officially available to residents, but is expected to go public sometime over the next few months.

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