Currituck County announces partnership to boost beach hazard monitoring

Published 5:27 am Monday, December 27, 2021

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Currituck County has announced that it will be one of the first United States coastal communities to participate in a project utilizing coastal web cameras for quantitative scientific analysis, public safety and resource management for coastal municipalities. This is a NOAA-funded project called Webcams for Coastal Observations and Operational Support (WebCOOS).

Currituck County is partnering with Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA), University of South Carolina, University of North Carolina Wilmington, University of California Santa Cruz, Axiom Data Science, NOAA (CO-OPS), U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to install new web cameras on the oceanfront in Corolla.

The two newly-installed cameras will have integrated cutting-edge technology with scientific and public health applications. The team will use the data to alert and inform residents, visitors and scientists about flooding, beach usage, beach and surf zone conditions (e.g., rip currents and coastal inundation) and water quality for swimmer safety. The system will use a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) software to monitor, assess and report on beach hazards and activities. Additionally, live beach footage from both cameras will be available to the public to view from their desktop and mobile devices.

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The project is anticipated to launch in the spring of 2022.