Dare County Flood Maps

Dare County’s preliminary flood maps were officially released on Thursday, June 30th and info on the maps can be found on Dare County’s website at www.darenc.com or directly through the FRIS website.

A presentation on the preliminary maps was given by Steve Garrett from the NC Floodplain Mapping office at the last Dare Board of Commissioners meeting. Base flood elevations throughout Dare County are going down in most areas. Some base flood elevations are going down in areas like Wanchese by as much as 5 feet and many properties currently in an AE zone are now mapped into an X zone.

Mr. Garrett’s presentation can be found at around the 33 minute mark. Mr. Garrett presents information on how to access the web site and shows you how to find the current effective map information as well as the preliminary map data. The base flood elevation changes will impact flood insurance rates and building requirements when the preliminary maps become effective in 18 to 24 months. Properties showing reduced base flood elevations and /or a change to a lesser risk flood zone may find that garages that are not covered by insurance under current maps will be covered under the updated maps; bathrooms and other rooms that are not allowed now due to an area being below base flood elevation will be allowed under the updated maps.

For example, Mr. Garrett showed 12,875 properties in unincorporated Dare County currently in an AE zone. Under the revised preliminary maps, only 8,493 properties are in an AE zone. That number drops dramatically in Kill Devil Hills too, with 4,389 properties currently in an AE zone but under the revised maps, only 182 properties will be in an AE zone. The same scenario holds true for Dare County’s five other towns.

When going to the fris.gov site, select the state of NC; click OK when the Welcome box appears. Then select Dare County from the map or from the drop down menu. You can click on a particular structure by searching by address; however, if you do not enter the address exactly the way appears in the system, then the address will be invalid. All Southern Shores addresses are entered as Kitty Hawk. The box in the right top corner will show “Effective” or current map info. Once a property is clicked on then you can see the current elevation and zone. Click on the top right corner box and change “Effective” to “Preliminary” to see the revised map information. Click on the “Flood Information” box to see the new base flood information and zone information. There are two new zones – “AH” and “AO” which represent shallow flooding areas. AH zone applies strictly to Kitty Hawk. AO represents areas of shallow flooding of 1 to 3 feet.

The preliminary maps were developed by the NC Floodplain Mapping office using grant funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and were developed over a period of years using the latest GPS and Lidar technology as well as historical storm data up to Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd.

While the new maps may show a lower base flood elevation or a change to a lesser risk flood zone, it is important to maintain coverage and discuss flood insurance coverage options with your insurance agent. After all, the Outer Banks is surrounded by water! Also, while a property may be coming out the Special Flood Hazard Area altogether(X zone) and not be required to maintain flood insurance therefore eligible for Preferred Risk coverage when new maps become effective; the premium may actually be higher than what a policyholder is currently paying. Since it is going to take some time before new maps become effective, we will be keeping you updated and informed on the progress!