Floodplain & Flooding Awareness
WHAT IS FLOODING?
Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Flooding can occur because of rain, snow melt, coastal storms, storm surges and overflows of dams and other water systems. They can develop slowly or quickly. Flash floods can come with no warning. Some floods occur days after it has rained. Floods can cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings and create landslides.
WHAT IS A FLOODPLAIN?
A floodplain is an area adjacent to a body of water. Floodplains vary in width, depth and location. Your house does not have to be near a river or stream to be in a floodplain. It’s important to contact the floodplain administrator in the Town.
WHAT IS A 100-YEAR FLOODPLAIN?
The 100-year floodplain or what FEMA now calls the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is an area inundated by a 100-year storm.
A 100-yr storm is a flood event that has a 1 in 100 chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. This does not mean you can only have one 100-year storm event a year. These types of events can happen multiple times a year, month or even a week.
SFHAs are areas regulated by state or local agencies and have been mapped on documents know as flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs).
CAN I BUILD IN A 100-YEAR FLOODPLAIN?
There are many restrictions to building in a floodplain area. Call the Town Floodplain Manager to explore what is involved in building in a floodplain. Owning a property within a floodplain requires flood insurance. Depending on your degree of risk, flood insurance can be very expensive.
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY HOUSE IS IN A FLOODPLAIN?
If you live in a floodplain (Special Flood Hazard Area), you live in an area of high risk even if you have never experienced a flood.
There are two ways to find out if your house is in a special flood hazard area.
Contact the Town Department of Public Works. Using digital maps, we can locate your parcel on the map and any relation it has to the special flood hazard area.
You can also use the FEMA maps online located at FEMA’s MAP Service Center to locate your property. These maps can be difficult to read therefore we suggest you get your Town Floodplain Manager to assist you.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR A FLOOD EVENT?
Flooding can occur at any time. Snow melt in the winter or hurricanes in the summer. Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends Nov 1st. You want to prepare for flood events that could occur BEFORE an event occurs.
There are many ways you can prepare for a flood event:
- Know your Risk. (Find out if you are in an area susceptible to flooding)
- Buy flood insurance.
- Sign up for your community’s early warning system Code Red. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- Learn evacuation routes. The Virginia Hurricane Evacuation Map: Know Your Zone
- Prepare a emergency plan. Make sure you plan for family members with disabilities, seniors, and your pets.
- Build an emergency supply kit
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container.
- Have a phone list prepared on who to call.
- Charge your cell phone before the storm.
- Know multiple ways to stay informed. (Battery operated radio, phone, local weather alerts)
- Create a safety checklist!
DO I NEED FLOOD INSURANCE?
Basic home owners insurance does not cover flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program offers affordable flood insurance on public and private structures to property owners, renters, and business by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. The Town is an active member of the National Flood Insurance Program.
Flooding can cost millions of dollars worth of damage. See the NFIPs Damage Cost Calculator. Buy flood insurance before you need it. Flood insurance polices take 30 days to become effective.
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?
Town of Dumfries Department of Public Works 703-221-3400 x117