UL-Lafayette Civil Engineering Department launches new flood-focused research center

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UL-Lafayette launches a new research center with a flood focused agenda.

Just ahead of hurricane season, researchers at the university are leading the effort to find integrated watershed solutions.

Following the 2016 floods, researchers at the UL-Lafayette Civil Engineering Department realized the need of more resources that directly pin-point at-risk flood zones in Acadiana.

“Flooding is a community problem. So we need to build capacities at the community scale. It’s important to establish centers like this,” said Dr. Emad Habib, Center Director.

He said they are piloting different projects to help analyze the local area.”One of the initiatives that we’ve started with the center is to improve our monitoring. Flood monitoring,” he said. 

Researchers have planted monitoring sensors in areas like Monucs Park to eventually provide real-time flood alerts and warning applications.

“Another tool that we’ve been working on is a regional model for the Tech Vermilion Watershed. This is an example of it showing the coverage we have. Iberia, Vermilion, Lafayette Parishes and the parishes northward,” said Assistant Professor Dr. Robert Miller.

Dr. Miller develops the models and tools. He said this will assist with flood recovery.

“Many times during a flood you can’t be out there. it’s very dangerous. and so, you need an advanced tool to be able to tell you, oh wait a minute, the areas I can’t get to, here is where the problem is occurring,” he added

Flood zones are available to see online, but what the center is doing, is mapping out at-risk areas that many people aren’t aware of until a storm comes.

The center strives to provide a high-level view of the systematic problems.

Following the 2016 floods, researchers at the UL-Lafayette Civil Engineering Department realized the need for more resources that directly pin-point at-risk flood zones in Acadiana.

Among the Flood Center’s research projects:

  • Design of watershed monitoring systems for real-time flood alert and warning applications
  • Flood forecasting and hazard identification
  • Probabilistic analysis and prediction of extreme events
  • Radar-rainfall applications in hydrologic and hydraulic modeling

For more information on the center, visit

https://floodcenter.louisiana.edu/

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