Main Content

Coastal Flood Hazard Analysis and Mapping

This page is a resource for coastal flood hazard information pertinent to FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), specifically technical modeling and mapping applications. This page is intended for individuals, professionals, and communities interested in information on how to update flood risk studies and maps in coastal areas.

Coastal Flood Hazard Guidance Documents and Forms

The Coastal Flood Risk Study Process page provides a brief introduction to some of the main modeling and mapping theoretical components associated with a FEMA coastal flood hazard analysis. These components should be considered when developing coastal map revision requests in order for the requester to submit a complete request including the provision of MT-2 Forms. More detailed information is provided in FEMA’s guidance documents.

Guidance for conducting coastal flood hazard analysis and mapping was originally housed in three separate documents organized by geography:

  • Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico Coastal Guidelines Update (2007)
  • Final Draft Guidelines for Coastal Flood Hazard Analysis and Mapping for the Pacific Coast of the United States (2005)
  • Great Lakes Coastal Guidelines Update (2014)

As a part of FEMA’s larger guidance transformation effort, the three geographically organized coastal guidance volumes are being parsed out by topic and guidance for the three coastal geographies are being combined. The guidance is now organized by topic or physical process with references, where appropriate, to mythologies that are recommended for specific geographical areas.  Engineering judgement should be used when applying guidance documents.

The table below summarizes the topics that have been transformed.  Transformed guidance content supersedes content in the original three volumes; however, the three volumes have not been transformed in their entirety yet and are therefore still relevant for the non-transformed sections.

All documents listed below can be found on the FEMA Guidance for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping page.

Topics that Have Been Transformed
Guidance Document Title
General Coastal Considerations
Guidance:  Coastal General Study Considerations (February 2018)
Study Documentation
Guidance:  Coastal Study Documentation and Intermediate Data Submittals (May 2014)
Coastal Barrier Resources System
Guidance:  Coastal Barrier Resources Systems (CBRS) Mapping on FEMA FIRMs (May 2014)
Coastal Flood Risk Datasets
Guidance:  Coastal-Specific Non-Regulatory Datasets (May 2014)
Data Capture
Guidance:  Coastal Data Capture (May 2014)
Combined Coastal and Riverine Floodplain (NEW)
Guidance:  Combined Coastal and Riverine Floodplain (May 2015)
ErosionGuidance: Erosion (February 2018)
Overland Wave PropagationGuidance: Overland Wave Propagation (Nov 2015)

Coastal Structures

Guidance: Coastal Structures (Nov 2015)

Wave Setup

Guidance: Coastal Wave Setup (Nov 2015)

Floodplain Mapping

Guidance: Coastal Floodplain Mapping (February 2018)

Flood Frequency and Extreme Value Analysis

Guidance: Coastal Fl ood Frequency and Extreme Value Analysis (Nov 2016)

Water Levels

Guidance: Coastal  Water Levels (May 2016)

Notation, Acronyms, Glossary

Guidance: Coasta l Notation, Acronyms, and Glossary of Terms (May 2016)

Coastal Statistical Simulation MethodsGuidance: Coastal Simulation Methods (Nov 2016)
Coastal Guidance by Geographic Location
East and Gulf Coasts
Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico Coastal Guidelines Update (Feb 2007)
Pacific Coast
Guidelines for Coastal Flood Hazard Analysis and Mapping for the Pacific Coast of the United States (Jan 2005)
Great Lakes
Guidance:  Great Lakes Coastal Guidelines Update (Jan 2014)
Other Coastal Guidance Documents
  • Guidance: Calculation of Incident Wave Height and Slope for use with TAW Wave Runup Method (May 2015)
  • Procedure Memorandum 37: Protocol for Atlantic and Gulf Coast Coastal Flood Insurance Studies in FY05 (Aug 2005)
  • Procedure Memorandum 39: Requirements for Mapping and Review of Coastal Barrier Resources System Boundaries on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (Aug 2007)
  • Procedure Memorandum 47: Guidance for Determination of the 0.2-Percent-Annual-Chance Wave Envelope along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico Coasts
  • Procedure Memorandum 50: Policy and Procedures for Identifying and Mapping Areas Subject to Wave Heights Greater than 1.5 feet as an Informational Layer on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) (Dec 2008)
  • Procedure Memorandum 60: Revision to Figure D.2.8-3, Wave Runup Guidance for Vertical Wall, From Shore Protection Manual (USACE, 1984) (Oct 2011)
  • Operating Guidance 7-11: Application of TAW Runup Methodology to FEMA Needs (Oct 2011)
  • Operating Guidance 8-12: Joint Probability - Optimal Sampling Method for Tropical Storm Surge Frequency Analysis (Mar 2012)
  • Operating Guidance 9-13: Operating Guidance for Designation of Zone VE based on Wave Runup Height (May 2013)
  • Operating Guidance 10-13: Operating Guidance for Selection of Wave Runup Methods (May 2013)
  • Operating Guidance 13-13: Operating Guidance for Improving the Identification and Mapping of the LiMWA on Regulatory and Non-Regulatory NFIP Products (Oct 2013)
  • Operating Guidance 14-13: Operating Guidance for Processing Appeals and Revisions to the LiMWA on Regulatory NFIP Products (Oct 2013)
  • Operating Guidance 15-13: Revised Guidance for Dune Erosion Analysis for the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico Coasts (Oct 2013)
  • Technical Memorandum: Guidance for Coastal Flood Hazard Analyses and Mapping in Sheltered Waters (Feb 2008)

FEMA Coastal Models and Software

FEMA has developed several programs to support coastal flood hazard analysis including the Coastal Hazard Analysis Modeling Program (CHAMP), RUNUP, and Wave Height Analysis for Flood Insurance Studies (WHAFIS).

For More Information

For more information or additional assistance:

  • Contact a Map Specialist at the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) toll free, at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627).
  • Please register to receive updates on FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping activities, including updates on levee-related activities, via e-mail.
Last Updated: 
10/29/2019 - 09:47