In this study, the authors propose a contagion model as a simple and powerful mathematical approach for predicting the spatial spread and temporal evolution of the onset and recession of floodwaters in urban road networks. The researchers integrated the flood contagion model with the network percolation process in which the probability of flooding of a road segment depends on the degree to which the nearby road segments are flooded.
The application of the proposed model is verified using high-resolution historical data of road flooding in Harris County during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The results show that the model can monitor and predict the fraction of flooded roads over time. Additionally, the proposed model can achieve 90% precision and recall for the spatial spread of the flooded roads at the majority of tested time intervals.