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Coastal Flood Risk

Our nation’s coasts are special places and home to some of our most vital resources. The growing population along our coastlines leads to increased coastal development, which places more people, places and things that we care about at risk. 

Coastal communities face a range of unique flooding hazards including storm surge, waves and erosion—all of which can cause extensive damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Achieving Coastal Resilience

To help coastal communities understand and reduce their risks, FEMA has initiated coastal flood hazard studies for 100% of the populated coastline.

Through Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) , FEMA is updating the nation’s coastal Flood Insurance Studies (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs, or flood maps), where appropriate, and publishing new flood maps of densely populated areas that were not previously mapped. With these new and updated maps, communities can make floodplain management decisions based on the best available scientific information.

FEMA is working with local community officials to produce additional data and hazard mitigation tools that will enable more strategic emergency preparedness, planning and risk reduction in coastal communities. These non-regulatory tools are called Flood Risk Products. They are easy-to-use resources that go beyond the basic flood hazard information on flood maps.

Examples of relevant Flood Risk Products for coastal areas include coastal depth grids (which show how deep the water would be during the 1%-annual-chance flood at any given location) and tools that show where the risks from wave heights, severity of flooding, and erosion may have increased.

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To learn more about FEMA’s Flood Risk Products click here.

Updating Flood Maps in Coastal Regions

Updating flood maps in coastal areas begins with a holistic study during which FEMA meets with local stakeholders to share data and identify the best path forward. Learn how FEMA creates flood maps in coastal areas.

Flood maps show the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)— the area that would be affected by a 1%-annual-chance flood (or base flood). Properties within the SFHA are at a high risk of flooding, with at least a 26% chance of flooding over the course of a 30-year mortgage. There are two primary flood hazard zones within a coastal SFHA. Learn more about flood maps for coastal regions.

Additional Coastal Resources

This easy-to-understand glossary explains coastal flood hazards and how they are depicted on flood maps.

Visit this story map for tutorials on how you can use flood maps in coastal communities for floodplain management.

Click here to learn how coastal communities are reducing risk and building resilience using FEMA data.

Mitigation Best Practices

Learn how you can take action now to protect your property from coastal hazards.

Read best practices and success stories about mitigating coastal risk.

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Understand your flood risk and view your flood maps.
Learn about flood insurance.
Make a plan, be ready for disaster.

Contact Us

For additional information or assistance, contact a Map Specialist in the FEMA Mapping and Insurance eXchange (FMIX).

Sign up for emails to receive coastal flood risk and mapping updates.