FloodNet: Low-Cost Ultrasonic Sensors for Real-Time Measurement of Hyperlocal, Street-Level Floods in New York City

Charlie Mydlarz, Praneeth Sai Venkat Challagonda, Bea Steers, Jeremy Rucker, Tega Brain, Brett Branco, Hannah E. Burnett, Amanpreet Kaur, Rebecca Fischman, Kathryn Graziano, Kendra Krueger, Elizabeth Hénaff, Véronëque Ignace, Erika Jozwiak, Jatin Palchuri, Polly Pierone, Paul Rothman, Ricardo Toledo-Crow, Andrea I. Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flooding is one of the most dangerous and costly natural hazards, and has a large impact on infrastructure, mobility, public health, and safety. Despite the disruptive impacts of flooding and predictions of increased flooding due to climate change, municipalities have little quantitative data available on the occurrence, frequency, or extent of urban floods. To address this, we have been designing, building, and deploying low-cost, ultrasonic sensors to systematically collect data on the presence, depth, and duration of street-level floods in New York City (NYC), through a project called FloodNet. FloodNet is a partnership between academic researchers and NYC municipal agencies, working in consultation with residents and community organizations. FloodNet sensors are designed to be compact, rugged, low-cost, and deployed in a manner that is independent of existing power and network infrastructure. These requirements were implemented to allow deployment of a hyperlocal, city-wide sensor network, given that urban floods often occur in a distributed manner due to local variations in land development, population density, sewer design, and topology. Thus far, 87 FloodNet sensors have been installed across the five boroughs of NYC. These sensors have recorded flood events caused by high tides, stormwater runoff, storm surge, and extreme precipitation events, illustrating the feasibility of collecting data that can be used by multiple stakeholders for flood resiliency planning and emergency response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2023WR036806
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • community
  • flood
  • flooding
  • sensor network
  • street level flooding
  • urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'FloodNet: Low-Cost Ultrasonic Sensors for Real-Time Measurement of Hyperlocal, Street-Level Floods in New York City'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this