Do I need flood insurance?

If your structure is not within the floodplain, your mortgage lender may not require that you purchase flood insurance as a condition of your mortgage loan, but this does not alter your exposure to flood damage. Many properties not located within the 100-year floodplain are subject to damage from storm events in our area or could otherwise be damaged by water. Your basic homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover damage caused by flooding.

How do I get flood insurance for my home or business?

Contact your insurance agency. They should be able to provide you with information on obtaining flood insurance coverage.

I’m a renter. Do I need flood insurance?

Yes. The contents of your home or apartment should be insured against flood damage.

Can flooding be eliminated in our community?

No. Flooding is a natural event common to our area. By implementing storm water improvement projects and by utilizing proper floodplain management practices, the flooding levels, duration, and frequency can be reduced without negatively affecting our surrounding environments.

What causes flooding?

Flooding occurs when flood waters inundate the floodplain of a creek or river as the result of a heavy rain event. The carrying or holding capacity of a system (comprised of storm sewer inlets, curb and gutter streets, storm sewers, roadside ditches, culverts, creeks, rivers, lakes, etc.) used to convey runoff, storm water, or other surface water is exceeded, resulting in the inundation of the area adjacent to that system. 

Why does my street flood?

There are several reasons why streets may flood. The primary reasons for flooding are insufficient street grades to convey water to inlets and the inadequate capacity of inlets and storm sewers. A second contributor to flooding is clogged, damaged, or obstructed storm sewer inlets and/or storm sewers. In this case, the runoff is hindered from entering the storm water system and has nowhere to go; consequently, water ponds and begins to fill the street. Another reason for street flooding is when a nearby stream has the same water surface elevation as the street itself, or perhaps even higher in some cases, resulting in the storm water system "backing up" and flooding. In many cases, roads are meant to serve as a secondary conveyor of storm water during extreme rain events so that the road floods instead of the houses and buildings located along the street. In virtually all curb and gutter streets, the streets are intended to flood for a given rainfall intensity and duration in order to provide protection to the adjacent properties.

Why can’t we just drain the water out of my subdivision to the nearby creeks?

During storm events that result in flooding, the floodplain provides storage for the excess runoff. If this storage is eliminated in one place, it will end up forcing itself somewhere else. In storm water capital projects addressing flooding, the intent is to protect structures and property from flood waters without adversely affecting or causing flooding to areas downstream. Even after a storm water capital project is completed, the streets will still experience flooding, by design, in order to maximize the flood protection of the adjacent properties and structures.

What is a floodplain?

A floodplain is the normally dry area, usually low land, adjacent to a stream, river or lake that is inundated on a periodic basis with flood waters. The extent or size of the floodplain depends on the magnitude of the flow, as defined for a given frequency of occurrence, the physical attributes and the watershed which it drains. Floodplains are usually referred to by a given recurrence interval with respect to the flows generated by a storm event, for example: "These homes are located in the 100-year floodplain" or "This subdivision is situated within the 500-year floodplain."

What is a 100-year storm?

The term "100-year storm" or "100-year frequency" does not refer to a rainfall event that occurs once every 100 years. Rather, in any given year, a 1 percent chance exists of a 100-year flood event occurring. Storm frequencies are used to refer to the average rainfall intensity for a given duration of time, the volume of rain that falls over a given period of time, or the peak flow that occurs from an event. For example, a 100-year storm (or worse) may occur three years in a row, or maybe twice in the same year, or perhaps not at all in 100 years. The chance that a storm will occur with some given frequency is known as the "return period" or "recurrence interval." A 500-year storm event occurs, on average, once in 500 years, or has a 0.2 percent probability of occurring or being exceeded in any given year; a 25-year storm event occurs on average once in 25 years, or has a 4 percent probability of occurring or being exceeded in any given year; a 2-year storm has a 50 percent chance of occurring or being exceeded in any given year. A storm event for some specified return period such as a 2-year or 100-year storm is frequently used in order to design storm water drainage systems, and is known as the design storm for that system.

Am I still at risk for flooding even though I do not live in a floodplain?

Yes. Even though you may not live in a defined floodplain, such as the 100-year or even 500-year floodplain, an adjacent or nearby storm sewer system or roadside ditch that has an inadequate capacity may cause localized flooding during a storm event. In essence, you do not have to live in a defined floodplain to experience flooding. If the runoff from a storm event exceeds the capacity of the storm sewer system for whatever reason, localized flooding will occur.