FEMA Flood Zone Maps
Flood zones are geographic areas that FEMA has defined on Flood Maps according to varying levels of flood risk. To identify a community’s flood risk, FEMA conducts a Flood Insurance Study. The study includes statistical data for river flow, storm tides, hydrologic/hydraulic analyses, and rainfall and topographic surveys. FEMA uses this data to create the flood hazard maps that outline your community’s different flood risk areas.
Determining Flood Risk
Floodplains and areas subject to coastal storm surge are shown as high-risk areas or Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). Some parts of floodplains may experience frequent flooding while others are only affected by severe storms. However, areas directly outside of these high-risk areas may also find themselves at considerable risk. Floodplains and areas subject to coastal storm surge are shown as high-risk areas or Special Flood Hazard Areas.
Some parts of floodplains may experience frequent flooding while others are only affected by severe storms. However, areas directly outside of these high-risk areas may also find themselves at considerable risk.
Understanding Your Flood Map
FEMA has published almost 100,000 individual Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). See your map and learn how to read it so you can make informed decisions about protecting your property.
FIRMs display areas that fall within the 100-year flood zone. Areas that fall within the boundary are called special flood hazard areas (SFHAs) and they are further divided into insurance risk zones. The term 100-year flood indicates that the area has a one-percent chance of flooding in any given year, not that a flood will occur every 100 years.
Such FEMA flood zone maps are used by lenders, insurance industry, and by individuals who want to avoid moving into a home at risk of flooding or to know how to protect their property. FIRMs are used to set rates of insurance against risk of flood and whether buildings are insurable at all against flood. It is similar to a topographic map, but is designed to show floodplains. Towns and municipalities use FIRMs to plan zoning areas. Most places will not allow construction in a flood way.