Hurricanes aren't a rare occurrence in Hampton Roads so it's important for all of us to understand our flood risk. Knowing the risk of flooding on your property can help you better prepare for an upcoming storm, but it can also help you with decisions, such as the amount of insurance you need. The National Hurricane Center has published a new tool that will make it easier to assess your risk of one type of flooding-storm surge.

The storm surge risk map is completely interactive. You can zoom in on any coastline in the country, and tabs at the top allow you to see the surge potential for the varying categories of hurricanes.

The color-coded areas on the map indicate places that could potentially go underwater in a Category 1 hurricane. The blue areas could see water as high as 3 feet. Yellow areas would take on 3'-6' of water in a Category 1 storm.

It's worth mentioning that these are "worst case scenario" maps; if all the factors come together for the highest potential storm surge, this is the highest water level potential in a Category 1. In order to create the "worst case scenario", the tide would have to be at its highest, and the winds would have to be just right.

Tropical storms and hurricanes usually cause flooding from not just the storm surge, but also due to the heavy rainfall. So, the storm surge map should not be read as a "flood potential" map. Flooding from heavy rainfall is completely separate, and it's just as threatening as that from storm surge.

Storm Surge Inundation Maps

These maps show projected hurricane storm surge flooding along coastal areas.

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