Grandview, Mo., is a first-ring suburb just south of Kansas City, with a population of about 25,000. The city has implemented the use of three-dimensional printing to create models of flooded areas following a series of flooding events in 2017. These models were used so engineers, local officials and residents could get a better, more tactile picture of the local terrain and a better understanding of the mechanics of the flooding. These models also helped refute false information and speed up the problem-solving process.
In 2017, the city had two “100-year rains” within 30 days of each other. Both times, floodwaters rose into the same neighborhood that sits near the Little Blue River. “The first flood alone caused over a million dollars in damages to vehicles and homes in the neighborhood,” said Grandview Communications Manager Valarie Poindexter. “While the Little Blue River did rise over the bridge, there were other factors in play that led to the flooding.”
Certain areas of the city are more prone to flooding than others due to the low-lying ground levels. In a matter of weeks, homes on Merrywood Circle flooded more than once, and the area saw 15 inches of rain. Homes near the Merrywood Bridge are in an especially problematic area. After the heavy rain, the ground was saturated and flooding was top of mind.
As a result of the flooding, the public works director at the time, Dennis Randolph, decided to have a 3D model made of the entire city to provide citizens and engineers with a better understanding of stormwater flow and runoff in the area. The 3D model was made of the entire city of Grandview. The models are constructed in blocks, and when the city has stormwater issues in neighborhoods, officials can take the needed portion of the 3D map to homeowners association meetings or other neighborhood gatherings.
According to local Kansas City news source, Randolph said the maps will help people living in the area get a better understanding of where the water is running and why. They will also help the city make future development decisions. For cities to better manage floods, 3D models of flood zones can allow city managers to consider preventive plans to reduce any risk that may come from future floods.
Flooding is one of the worst natural disasters that can severely impact a city or town. Property owners and tenants need flooding insurance to be covered in the event of a flood. The city of Grandview has several pieces of land that fall on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Insurance Rate Map.
After the major floods of 2017 that severely damaged dozens of duplexes and homes, the city of Grandview also compiled a list of responsibilities and resources for citizens. The Federal Emergency Management Agency issued copies of revised Flood Insurance Rate Map and Flood Insurance Study for all of Jackson County, including Grandview. Revisions to the existing FIRM maps could impact those properties along or near the Little Blue River and/or major tributaries to the Little Blue River.
Specific to Grandview, those properties along tributaries of the Blue River near the west city limit may be more greatly impacted. To learn more about the preliminary study for your area, other cities can visit the FEMA website, “View Your Community’s Preliminary Flood Hazard Data,” athttps://www.fema.gov/view-your-communitys-preliminary-flood-hazard-data-0