New site provides access to digital flood insurance rate maps.

The North Carolina Floodplain Mapping program web page with Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) went online today. The site offers cartographic depictions of flood zones and other GIS data layers in North Carolina. The flood zones and background imagery used on this website are the same as the data used to produce actual DFIRM maps. Preliminary and Effective (where available) DFIRM maps may be downloaded from this website in Adobe PDF format and are official DFIRM maps.

North Carolina, through the FEMA’s Cooperating Technical Community partnership initiative, has been designated as the first Cooperating Technical State (CTS). As a CTS, the State will assume primary ownership and responsibility of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for all North Carolina communities as part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This project will include conducting flood hazard analyses and producing updated, digital FIRMs (DFIRMs).

North Carolina faces extreme hazards and consequences from hurricanes and flooding. Since 1989, there have been 14 federally declared disasters in North Carolina. Damage from Hurricane Floyd alone has reached $3.5 billion. Hurricane Floyd destroyed 4,117 uninsured and under-insured homes. The State's vulnerability to hurricanes and flooding makes it crucial that communities and property owners have accurate, up-to-date information about the flood risk. The updated DFIRMs produced through this project will help to protect lives and property and will contribute to the general well-being of North Carolina citizens. Citizens of North Carolina will benefit from the project in several ways:

  • The updated flood hazard data will provide current, accurate information for North Carolina communities and property owners to make sound siting and design decisions when rebuilding after flooding disasters, when building new structures and infrastructure, and when retrofitting existing structures.
  • The use of the updated flood hazard data by communities for floodplain management will dramatically reduce long-term flood losses in the State of North Carolina.
  • Updated flood hazard data will alert those at risk of flooding of the need to purchase flood insurance.
  • It will be faster and cheaper to update FIRMs.
  • Current, updated base maps and the digital format of the FIRMs will allow users to make more precise flood risk determinations.
  • The digital format of the FIRMs will allow them to be used with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for analysis and planning.
  • The digital GIS will allow online access to all maps 24 hours a day.
  • The DEMs being developed will be useful for many engineering and planning applications, such as site design, stormwater management, transportation planning and design, and spill response.

The project will entail acquisition of high-resolution topographic data and development of accurate Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). The DEMs will then be used to perform engineering studies to develop up-to-date, accurate flood hazard data and floodplain mapping. This updated data and mapping will be used to produce seamless DFIRM coverage statewide. Production of Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles in partnership with the State of North Carolina and the U.S. Geological Survey will be used as the primary base map. In areas where there is a locally produced base map that is more current or accurate than the Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle, the locally developed map may be used as the base. The FIRMs will be converted to the NAVD 88 and a state-of-the-art, dynamic IT infrastructure will be implemented to analyze, maintain, and archive maps and associated flood hazard data. This system will also distribute the mapping data and associated reports to the public via the Internet. Eventually, this project will lead to development of a real-time flood forecasting and inundation mapping capability.

As of now, floodplain data is only available for Carteret and Onslow counties. By August 2002, however, work will be completed for the six eastern river basins, which were most impacted by Hurricane Floyd and account for approximately one-half of the State, affecting 48 counties (in whole or in part) and approximately 21,200 linear miles of streams. By the end of State Fiscal Year 2005, the state hopes to complete DFIRMS for the rest of the state.

Click here to view the website.