Using 311-Call Data to Measure Flood Risk and Impacts: the case of Harris County TX during Hurricane Harvey

Prepared by:

Jayton L. Rainey, Kirana Pandian, Laura Sterns, Kayode Atoba, William Mobley, Wesley Highfield, Russell Blessing, Samuel D. Brody

The impacts of flooding in the United States (U.S.) are becoming more ubiquitous, costly, and widespread. As a result, decision makers are searching for more timely and representative data to better understand and plan for flooding events, particularly in large populated urban areas. Current damage assessment techniques rely on satellite imagery at very coarse scales, windshield damage surveys, and forensic analysis using limited amounts of high-water marks, insurance claims, or other flood-loss payouts. Planners, first responders, and recovery experts are increasingly in need of information at a fine spatial scale, generated closer to real-time storm events, that better represents the risk of and impact from flooding.