• Coastal residents must be informed; it’s up to everyone to know their risk, know their role, and take action to reduce their risk.
  •  Through flood studies and updated maps, communities in coastal areas are receiving better information about the flood risks where they live and work.
  • Share this information with your friends and neighbors. Know your coastal flood risk and have a plan before a flood or storm event impacts your community. Contact your local Floodplain Administrator, and visit and for more information on flood risk levels and how to prepare.

Living along the Coast means Living with Risk

  • In addition to sudden and severe storms and surge issues, flat-lying coastal areas are also subject to more long-term issues such as subsidence, sea level rise and coastal erosion.
  • Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States; it is vital that property owners understand their risk and take advantage of tools or programs available to them, including flood insurance.
  • Coastal areas are some of the most “at-risk” areas since they are impacted by large amounts of water and waves. Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause storm surges to combine with normal tides.
  • Flooding occurs not only in the high-risk areas known as “Special Flood Hazard Areas”, but also in moderate- to low-risk areas. In fact, over 20 percent of all flood insurance claims nationally come from areas designated as moderate- to low-risk areas.

Coastal Erosion

  • Any property situated near a coastline is at some risk of coastal flooding and forces residents of coastal communities to be vigilant at all times.
  • The loss of beaches in an area makes it more vulnerable to the next storm.
  • Coastal erosion is a natural process and byproduct of coastal flooding.
  • Coastal erosion puts people, beach properties, future development and natural habitat at risk.

Coastal Levees

  • No levee system provides complete protection from all events, but they do reduce impacts during certain flood events.
  • There is always a risk of flooding from events that exceed the capacity of levee systems.
  • Properties behind levees not only face risks associated with large tropical storms, but floods caused by larger or lengthy rainfall events as well.
  • Levees can and do deteriorate over time and must be maintained to retain their effectiveness. When levees fail, or are overtopped, the results can be catastrophic.
  • People living and working in an area near a levee system must understand the flood risks they face and take proactive steps to address them.
  • FEMA strongly encourages citizens living and working behind levees to take action to reduce the risk to their families, businesses, and property.  Those risk reduction actions include:
    • Purchasing flood insurance through the NFIP
    • Adhering to local flooplain management regulations when constructing or substantially improving your building
    • Familiarizing themselves with local evacuation procedures and having a family or business emergency plan in place
    • Consider floodproofing and other protective measures such as elevating furnaces, water heaters, and electrical panels