New map tags thousands of properties as reduced flood risks

By on July 24, 2016

Flooding in Kitty Hawk after Hurricane Sandy. (NCDOT)

Thousands of properties in Dare County have been reclassified as facing a lower risk of flooding and storm surge under new mapping recently released by the state.

Presentations were offered throughout the county last month to explain how the new mapping employed better technology and data to update the risks of damage covered under the National Flood Insurance Program.

Once the maps are finalized, the county and its towns will have to re-evaulate their zoning rules for buildings in flood-prone areas where the federal insurance protection is required.

In the preliminary mapping, well over 15,000 properties in the two most hazardous zones saw their designations for risk downgraded from what they are on the map now in use.

The update of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps was done by the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program, which worked with a dozen federal agencies.

Most vulnerable is the Coastal High Hazard Area, which encompasses high velocity wave zones designated as “V” for purposes of local building regulations and federal flood insurance rates. The number of buildings considered in the V zone countywide was reduced by 3,720 — from 5,001 to 1,731.

Farther back from the oceanfront are the “A” Zones, which can still be hit by flooding and wave damage. Those numbers were reduced countywide from 24,867 to 12,167.

(Town of Nags Head)
The special flood hazard area (SFHA) is where the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) floodplain management regulations must be enforced and where buying flood insurance is mandatory. Source: FEMA.

Planners caution that the risk of flooding along the coast is still high. More than 20 percent of insurance claims are from properties not in a special flood hazard area, according to the Town of Nags Head.

Finalizing the maps will take up to two years, and the changes could affect rates. Read more about how rates might change here »

Find your property by viewing the maps at the N.C. FRIS website. They are also accessible from Dare County with a short video explaining how to use the system and answers to frequently asked questions about the process.

If you live in or own property in Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head or Manteo, and you need help with the maps or classifications, contact the planning department in your town. Links to town websites can be found in the left-hand column on this page.

Typically, the map update process takes 18 to 24 months to complete once the preliminary maps are released, according to a Dare County. It includes a 90-day appeal period, then local govenments will begin to update their ordinances.

“We will redraft our ordinance in the next six to twelve months,” Nags Head Planning and Development Director Andy Garman said in an e-mail, “and I am not sure what the board will want to do in terms of changes.”

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