A UT Arlington water resources
engineer is developing a first-of-its-kind prototype that would allow the City
of Fort Worth to more effectively dispatch emergency personnel to save lives
and property when flash flooding occurs.
Seo said Fort Worth emergency
responders could see an effective lead time of up to 30 minutes in many flash-flooding
“The prototype will provide
timely and location-specific information of what’s happening currently and in
the immediate future when flash flooding occurs,” Seo said. “The City officials
can use that information to help dispatch emergency personnel at the right time
and to the right place.”
The weather radar system is part
of a partnership among The University of Texas at Arlington, the Collaborative
Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, a National Science Foundation Engineering
Research Center; the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the National
Weather Service and many other cities and universities across North Texas.
Amy Cannon, an engineer with the
Fort Worth Transportation and Public Works Department, said Seo’s research also
would look at Zoo Creek and Edgecliff Branch in Fort Worth for real-time
“These are areas that need
accurate, timely flood predictions. Dr. Seo’s prototype will give us an
advantage in these flooding hot spots,” Cannon said. “Utilizing better
information through the prototype will give us an advantage in helping protect
people and property during flood events.”
Khosrow Behbehani, dean of the
UT Arlington College of Engineering,
said Seo’s work would have other benefits beyond flash-flood forecasting.
“Once Dr. Seo’s modeling is
completed, it could very easily be adapted to study the impact of development
on rainfall-runoff response in an urban area. It also could examine the
emergency preparedness of a city’s infrastructure for water hazards,” Behbehani
said. “I could also see that urban areas can use this innovative system in the
future to improve their water conservation programs. That’s especially
important in North Texas when water conservation is needed in times of
The new CASA system provides
very high-resolution rainfall and other data every minute compared with every
five to six minutes with the existing systems. The new system focuses on a more
concise area, giving forecasters detailed information to better monitor and
track storms and precipitation. Because the CASA system is designed to observe
the atmosphere closer to the ground, the system requires an extensive network
UT Arlington was the first institution
in the North Texas region to install a CASA weather radar system. The system
sits atop Carlisle Hall on the main campus. Similar systems have been installed
or are scheduled to be installed at The University of North Texas in Denton and
elsewhere in Fort Worth and Addison. Plans call for eight sites initially
throughout North Texas.
Seo will collect real-time data
from the CASA system and integrate that with information from geographic
information system maps through hydrologic and hydraulic modeling.
“The strength of the CASA system
is that it provides spatially detailed information at a very high temporal
frequency,” Seo said. “What makes this research more exciting is that this is
the first system of its kind in the country because North Texas is the first
metropolitan area to deploy a network of CASA radars.”
Funded by a National Science
Foundation grant, CASA is a consortium of nine universities, government agencies
and industry partners. The North Central Texas Council of Governments is
coordinating participation of area municipalities.
The University of
Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of about 33,800
students and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas.
Research activity has more than tripled over the past decade to $71.4 million
last year with an emphasis on bioengineering, medical diagnostics, micro
manufacturing, advanced robotics and defense and Homeland Security technologies,
among other areas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.