Pressure transducers and high-water marks were used to document the inland water levels related to storm surge generated by Hurricane Rita in southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas. On September 22-23, 2005, an experimental monitoring network consisting of 47 pressure transducers (sensors) was deployed at 33 sites over an area of about 4,000 square miles to record the timing, extent, and magnitude of inland hurricane storm surge and coastal flooding. Sensors were programmed to record date and time, temperature, and barometric or water pressure. Water pressure was corrected for changes in barometric pressure and salinity. Elevation surveys using global-positioning systems and differential levels were used to relate all storm-surge water-level data, reference marks, benchmarks, sensor measuring points, and high-water marks to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88). The resulting data indicated that storm-surge water levels over 14 feet above NAVD 88 occurred at three locations and rates of water-level rise greater than 5 feet per hour occurred at three locations near the Louisiana coast.
Quality-assurance measures were used to assess the variability and accuracy of the water-level data recorded by the sensors. Water-level data from sensors were similar to data from co-located sensors, permanent U.S. Geological Survey streamgages, and water-surface elevations performed by field staff. Water-level data from sensors at selected locations were compared to corresponding high-water mark elevations. In general, the water-level data from sensors were similar to elevations of high quality high-water marks, while reporting consistently higher than elevations of lesser quality high-water marks.