SEA ISLE CITY — It could soon be the most watched show in Sea Isle City: A 24-hour online livestream of flooding along one of the city’s most frequently inundated streets.
There are plans to mount a web camera on the public works building at 40th Street and Central Avenue in the next three to four weeks to let residents watch flooding there in real time.
The camera, which costs about $5,000, is funded through a grant from OceanFirst Bank to the New Jersey Coastal Coalition, a group of more than 20 municipalities that formed after Hurricane Sandy.
The goal: to let residents know when to keep cars parked in the driveway or what parts of the city to avoid, said Tom Quirk, executive director of the coalition.
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“If you live in the area, the web cam will let you know to avoid this area,” Quirk said. “And if you own a summer home, the camera will give you an idea in real time of what’s happening in the city.”
The city recently released a flood mitigation study prepared by Egg Harbor Township-based Maser Consulting that recommended additional stormwater pump stations, placing check valves on outfall structures and building berms along streets in low-lying areas adjacent to salt marshes.
But the web cam will improve communications with residents about flooding, beyond the typical flooding text alert. A year-round livestream will be posted online for the public to view, but where it will be posted hasn’t been determined.
“Visuals are a tremendous tool,” said city spokeswoman Katherine Custer.
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The coalition hopes to eventually install cameras throughout Atlantic and Cape May counties. Web cams are already being used to track flooding in other parts of the U.S., such as San Diego County in California and along the Great Pee Dee River in Florence, South Carolina.
It’s one of a number of projects headed by the New Jersey Coastal Coalition. In Avalon and Longport, the group helped install flood sensors under more than two dozen storm drains to track flooding on a street-by-street basis.
Data gathered from the sensors will be used to give officials an idea of where the worst flooding occurs, and to target warnings to people living there.
“It’s all to warn people about the dangers of flooding,” said Quirk.