Flooding and Flood Map Information

FEMA Flood Map Service Center

The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Use the MSC to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.


 See your map and learn how to read it so you can make informed decisions about protecting your property, both financially and structurally.

Defining Flood Risks
Flooding can happen anywhere, but certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding. To help communities understand their risk, flood maps (Flood Insurance Rate Maps, FIRMs) have been created to show the locations of high-risk, moderate-to-low risk and undetermined-risk areas. Here are the definitions for each:
High Risk Areas
(Special Flood Hazard Area or SFHA)
In high-risk areas, there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. All home and business owners in these areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to buy flood insurance. They are shown on the flood maps as zones labeled with the letters A or V.
Moderate- to Low-Risk Areas
(Non-special Flood Hazard Area or NSFA)
In moderate- to low-risk areas, the risk of being flooded is reduced but not completely removed. These areas submit over 20% of NFIP claims and receive one-third of disaster assistance for flooding. Flood insurance isn't federally required in moderate-to-low areas, but it is recommended for all property owners and renters. They are shown on flood maps as zones labeled with the letters B, C or X (or a shaded X).
Undetermined Risk Areas
No flood-hazard analysis has been conducted in these areas, but a flood risk still exists. Flood insurance rates reflect the uncertainty of the flood risk. These areas are labeled with the letter D on the flood maps.

Determining the Risk

To identify a community's flood risk, FEMA conducts a Flood Insurance Study. The study includes statistical data for river flow, storm tides, hydrologic/hydraulic analyses, and rainfall and topographic surveys. FEMA uses this data to create the flood hazard maps that outline your community's different flood risk areas.

Floodplains and areas subject to coastal storm surge are shown as high-risk areas or Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). Some parts of floodplains may experience frequent flooding while others are only affected by severe storms. However, areas directly outside of these high-risk areas may also find themselves at considerable risk.

Understanding Your Area

Changing weather patterns, erosion, and development can affect floodplain boundaries. FEMA is currently updating and modernizing the nations Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS). These digital flood hazard maps provide an official depiction of flood hazards for each community and for properties located within it.

FEMA has published almost 100,000 individual Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).

  • Unique Panels: 171,132
  • Mapped Participating Communities: 22,120
  • Mapped non-Participating Communities: 2,103

See your map and learn how to read it so you can make informed decisions about protecting your property, both financially and structurally.

Flooding and Flood Insurance
Flood Facts
Everyone is at Risk
Flood Insurance Misconceptions
Lower Cost Options
What You Need to Know about Flood Insurance [PDF 288K] Text only version [4K]
Flood Insurance Q & A for Real Estate Professionals [PDF 216K] Text only version [8K]
Know Your Risk [PDF 2.44MB]

Seasonal Risks
Hurricanes Can Bring Inland Flooding

NFIP Statistics

Spanish Language Materials

Emergency Preparation

Along with flood insurance, you can also protect yourself by safeguarding your home and possessions, developing a family emergency plan, and understanding your policy.

Learn how to deal with a flood, both before and after it happens, right now.

Prepare Yourself Before a Flood:

Post-Disaster Information
After the Flood Tips from the NFIP [PDF 78K] text only version [5K]
Tips for Filing Your Flood Insurance Claim [PDF 48K] text only version [4K]

Fact Sheets
What To Know...What To Do [PDF 139K] Text only version [4K]
Flood History and Causes [PDF 136K] text only version [4K]

PDF icon Repairing your Flooded Home (Red Cross)688.82 KB