A Floodplain, as defined by the National Flood Insurance Program, is an land area that is susceptible to being inundated by flood waters from any source. As defined by FEMA, the land area covered by the floodwaters of the base flood is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) on NFIP maps. Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) are issued by FEMA as part of the National Flood Insurance Program. The hazard area or, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), shown on the flood map is known as the 100-year floodplain. If you would like to find out whether or not your property is located within a special flood hazard area, please contact the Harris County Permit Office at (713) 956-3000 for an unofficial determination.
Unlike most standard homeowner's policies, flood insurance covers losses to your property caused by flooding. Do not drive or walk into water that is flowing across low water crossings, bridges, or roadways.
If the waters start to rise inside your house before you have evacuated, retreat to the second floor, attic or roof. If your home, apartment, or business has suffered damage, call the insurance company that handles your flood insurance policy right away to initiate a claim.
Harris County and Harris County Flood Control District maintain our county-wide system of drainage improvements, including 1,500 channels totaling about 2,500 miles in length within twenty-two watersheds. Having come across the photo above of a home destroyed by a flood on the Sauk River numerous times, I decided to track down the owner, who surely had something to say on this topic. Among other things, this law requires FEMA to take immediate steps to eliminate a variety of existing flood insurance subsidies. These areas are classified as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), and are located in a 100-year flood zone.
Property owners, renters and businesses can purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as a result of Harris County’s participation in the program. FEMA encourages communities to implement floodplain management standards which exceed the minimum NFIP standards. Contact your insurance agent to help you decide what kind of flood protection is best for you.
Contact the Harris County Permit Office at (713) 956-3000 for further information and prior to undertaking any activity within the floodplain. I don't agree that my structure is located in a floodplain or I don't believe that its lowest floor is below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). By participating in the NFIP, communities are required to adopt sound floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. Harris County recommends that all residents purchase flood insurance, even if it is not mandated by your home mortgage company. The Map Modernization project provides property owners throughout Harris County with up-to-date, reliable, Internet accessible information about their flood risk on a property by property basis. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood.
In fact, the odds of it happening increase along with the growing footprint of the infrastructure.
Development within a defined floodplain or Special Flood Hazard Area is governed through Floodplain Regulations adopted by a local community or county. The Map Index and Panel Numbers for Richland County Flood Insurance Rate Maps are listed below.
You can also view copies of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps in the Harris County Permit Office. Flood insurance is required by law for property owners living in a high-risk area, or Special Flood Hazard Area, with a federally backed mortgage.

Structures within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) in a community participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are subject to Floodplain Management Regulations that impact building standards and are designed to minimize flood risk. Harris County Flood Control District has a drainage maintenance program in which crews clean out debris that has collected within channels. The SFHA is the area where the NFIP's floodplain management regulations must be enforced and the area where the mandatory purchase of flood insurance applies.
A lending institution must require that flood insurance be purchased as a condition of any federally insured loan when a building is mapped in the 100 - year floodplain.
By showing the extent to which areas of the County and individual properties are at risk for flooding, flood maps help business and property owners make better decisions about protecting their property. For example, if you have a FHA or VA loan, or if your mortgage company is federally insured, you must obtain flood insurance if you live in a high risk area. If your home has been flooded, protect your family's health by cleaning up your house right away.
Rather, more accurate survey information is allowing FEMA to show the limits of the floodplain more accurately than ever before.
The 100-year flood is not a flood event that happens once in a hundred years, rather a flood event that has a one percent chance of occurring every year.
In return, FEMA rewards communities with higher standards by offering a discount on flood insurance policies. In other words, properties which are now shown on the map to be within the floodplain were actually always within the floodplain. In the last century, over 30 thunderstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes have caused flooding in Harris County. Each bayou and creek include areas known as "floodplains," where water collects, pools, and flows during the course of a natural storm event.
After all, if we just presented people with the facts, they wouldn’t be so likely to live in a floodplain. Floodplain Regulations are designed to guide development within Special Flood Hazard Areas. A floodplain determination can assist a property owner in determining what portions of their property and what structures on their property are in a floodplain. Flood insurance is sold through more than 85 private insurance companies and agents, and is available to homeowners, business owners, and renters.
County staff is available to make site visits, if requested, to review flooding and drainage issues.
Harris County and the FEMA have updated all of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for Unincorporated Harris County. A person should be aware of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides flood insurance coverage for structures and their contents, in communities participating in the NFIP.
It is more precisely defined as the floodplain associated with a flood that has a 1-percent annual chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.
Flooding events can also occur in low-to-moderate risk areas and flood insurance in these areas is also strongly recommended.
After a flood, steps and floors are often slippery with mud and covered with debris, including nails and broken glass.
After devastating flooding in 1935, the state legislature created the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD).
A person can find out if a piece of property is located in the floodplain by checking with the local floodplain administrator (ask for the "Flood Insurance Rate Map" or the "Flood Hazard Boundary Map" furnished by FEMA). It does not mean that the flood will occur every 100 years; rather it is the flood elevation that has a 1- percent chance of being equaled or exceeded each year. Harris County has Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) that identify all floodplain areas within the county limits.

The Floodplain Regulations adopted by the Richland County Board of Commissioners apply to property located in unincorporated areas of Richland County only. Interactive Weather Information Network (IWIN) provides a variety of weather data and imagery, including flood and flash-flood warnings. Additional information on flood protection measures and building protection is also available in floodplain "libraries" maintained by the Harris County both at the 26 branches of Harris County Public Library and at Harris County Permit Office. Storm water runoff from properties throughout Harris County flows to one of 1,500 channels totaling about 2,500 miles in length within twenty-two watersheds of Harris County, joining Galveston Bay and flowing downstream to the Gulf of Mexico. It is important to note that the calculated flood levels (based on extensive hydraulic modeling) in Harris County are not changing with the issuance of the maps. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states. People in low-to-moderate risk areas may be eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy with flood insurance premiums as low as $119 a year.
In addition to federal standards, Harris County has Floodplain Management Regulations more stringent than the federal standards in place which govern development within the SFHA. Under this program, federally insured or regulated institutions must require flood insurance policies on all new loans for structures in mapped 100 year floodplain areas recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The premium is more expensive for structures located in the 100-year floodplain that pre-date a community's floodplain ordinance and are not properly elevated or protected against flood damage. As stated in the Flood Insurance Study, HCFCD governs drainage and flood control, while the county engineer governs floodplain management and permit programs with technical assistance from HCFCD.
On July 6, 2012, a law took effect that made significant reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
The National Weather Service Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) produces a map showing flood potential for the contiguous 48 states. Under Texas Water Law, "No person may divert or impound the natural flow of surface waters in this state, or permit a diversion or impounding by him to continue in a manner that damages the property of another by the overflow of the water diverted or impounded." Essentially, this means that the natural path of storm water runoff is not to be blocked. Property owners can take actions in advance of a flood to provide protection for their property. This must confirm that the finished floor of the actual construction is at least 18-inches above the BFE. For buildings in high flood risk areas, there is a 26% chance of experiencing a flood during the life of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of experiencing a fire. Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Floodplain Management Program includes information on floodplain regulations in Ohio.
Nobody can stop a flood, but there are actions you can take before, during, and after a flood to protect your family and keep your property losses to a minimum. No physical features have changed which adversely impacted the properties and caused the shift in floodplain limits. These pages provide Harris County residents with information and resources regarding flooding, and establish easy access to Harris County’s regulations and programs related to flooding and floodplain management.
A floodplain is defined as any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source. Flood hazard maps, also called "Flood Insurance Rate Maps" or "FIRMs" are important tools in the effort to protect lives and properties in Harris County.

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