Learning Guide

Volunteers for the Town of Carolina Shores have devoted time and resources to help residents understand floodplain issues better, this information has been compiled as a Learning Guide for the use and benefit of residents.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a flood zone?  Flood zones are geographic areas that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has defined according to varying levels of flood risk.  These zones are depicted on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Hazard Boundary Map.  Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.  According to FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program, any building located in an A or V zone is considered to be in a Special Flood Hazard Area, and is lower than the Base Flood Elevation.

How is a flood zone determined?  Flood hazard areas identified on the Flood Insurance Rate Map are identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFAH).  SFHA's are defined as the area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.  The 1% annual chance flood is also referred to as the base flood or 100-year flood.

What is a flood map?  A flood map informs your community about the local flood risk.  It helps set minimum floodplain standards so that your community builds safely and resiliently.  It determines the cost of flood insurance, which helps property owners to financially protect themselves against flooding.  The maps are created by FEMA and developed using sound science generated by engineering experts.

What is a floodplain?  A floodplain is an area adjacent to a body of water.  Factors that determine a floodplain include flood studies, flood data, maps, and terrain.

What causes flooding?  Rainfall is the most important factor, but also spring snow melt, weather events, and lack of drainage.  

How have floodmaps changed since 2006?  Properties have been added that were not previously in the flood zone.

Who is impacted by these changes?  Persons who's property is mapped into a high-risk area.

What do these changes mean for those impacted? If the owners has a mortgage through a federally regulated or insured lender, flood insurance will be required when the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) become effective.


How does flooding happen?

What is a 100 year flood?  

What is a floodplain?  

Aerial footage of Brunswick County flooding, October 2015  

FEMA website  

National Flood Insurance Program  

FEMA Floodmap Service Center, Carolina Shores  

Data Visualization:  Historical Flood Risk and Costs

An Introduction to Floodplain Maps: Understanding Floodplain Maps and Flood Risk

Risk Mitigation Information

National Flood Insurance Program Links to Related Sites

Regional FEMA Office