NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Flooding is a headache for people who live in Norfolk, particularly for those who live near the Hague. Residents have seen several feet of water in some areas, and that water floods fast!

But now an engineer tells 13News Now his new invention -- which can be placed around the city -- will provide real-time flooding data.

"I'm kind of shocked at the amount of flooding we have and the amount of flooding we have even in what you perceive as a calm day, just because of tidal surge," said Jim Gray, an engineer who owns Gray8 LLC.

Gray designed and built a Water Level Monitoring System. Right now he's in the testing phase. Norfolk does not have any flooding sensors.

"So it's using ultrasound technology. What that does is it sends out a high frequency sound pulse, higher than what we can hear. And it measures the time it takes for that pulse to travel, hit the surface of the water, and come back," he said.

The sensor then sends the data to this gateway, which will be on the top of a building. The gateway collects the data and passes it to the cloud, which can trigger rising water alerts. Gray says the whole process can takes a matter of minutes.

If Gray's system is successful, Norfolk plans on purchasing a few units. For the city, it's about collecting data, helping residents make informed decisions, and being an innovator in water management.

The city tells 13News Now they invite inventors to come up with solutions, and to test them in the city.