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When Every Minute Matters

It was late afternoon on the Friday before Memorial Day 2015, but as most people were starting their holiday weekend, the City of Wichita Falls had more pressing concerns. The weather service was projecting that the next day, the Wichita River would crest potentially as high as 30 feet — 6 feet above the flood of record. The City knew the flooding could be severe, but they didn’t know where. So, they called on Freese and Nichols for help. Our team stayed late to develop GIS files for floodplain delineations of a variety of potential flood stages. Within hours, the City had the flood maps they needed, enabling them to alert residents and evacuate neighborhoods before floodwaters arrived. Later, Freese and Nichols worked with the City to refine the maps based on more detailed modeling so they could be prepared before the next flood event.