Flood Zones

What is a flood zone?

A flood zone is an area designated on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) that is provided to the City of Norfolk by FEMA. This map shows the risks that properties have of being impacted by flooding.

The FIRM and the associated development requirements are implemented by City of Norfolk Zoning Ordinance in Article 3.9.7 along with the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code.

What are the flood zones?

The City of Norfolk has multiple flood zones that are shown on our maps. These zones were determined scientifically using a study that predicts where water will go during major flooding events (one percent (1%) annual chance of flooding).

These zones are:

  • X Zone
    • Areas that are outside the 0.2% annual chance of flooding. This zone is the least likely to flood.
  • X (0.2% annual chance of flood) Zone
    • Areas that have a 0.2% annual chance of flooding and may see flooding if the flood event is abnormally large. Areas are subject to flooding depths less than 1 foot during a 1% chance flood.
  • AE Zone
    • Areas subject to a 1% annual chance flooding event with water elevation levels determined (Base Flood Elevation). This area is most likely to flood during a flood event.
  • AH Zone
    • Areas subject to a 1% annual chance flooding event caused by ponding water. Elevations determined.
  • AO Zone
    • Areas subject to a 1% annual chance flooding with flood depths between 1 to 3 feet. Usually occurs due to sloping terrain
  • VE Zone
    • Velocity zone. Area subject to wave heights 3 feet or more and extending to the inward limit of the Coastal Primary Sand Dune
  • LiMWA
    • Limits of Moderate Wave Action: Area affected by waves heights between 1.5 and 3 feet

What flood zones require flood insurance?

Normally, flood insurance is required by lenders for properties located within higher risk flood zones (AE, AH, AO and VE). In the City of Norfolk, the chance of flooding is real for everyone with our risk coming from both coastal and rain event flooding. It is recommended to obtain flood insurance even if it is not required to have it.

How to find out what flood zone I am in?

Please use the City of Norfolk address information resource called NorfolkAIR. Under the flood awareness tab you can find out what flood zones are on your property. You can also use the FEMA Map Service Center. For specific flood zone determinations, please fill our the Flood Zone Determination Form (someone will respond within two business days) or call the Planning Department at 757-664-4752.

Does the City have an elevation certificate for my residence on file? 

The City of Norfolk maintains a list of all elevation certificates it receives. To access the list click here.  If you are able to locate the address in question, contact us at planning@norfolk.gov to obtain a copy.

What is the Community Rating System (CRS)?

The City of Norfolk participates in the CRS program which provides a reduction in flood insurance rates for the citizens of Norfolk. By participating in this program, we provide better protection to people and property by enforcing higher development standards, providing public outreach and information, maintaining the city's drainage system, and other efforts.

Where else can I find information about flooding?

The City of Norfolk has a comprehensive website that details the efforts to protect citizens and property. Please see the Flood Awareness website for more information.

Another site provided by FEMA is FloodSmart which provides information on flood insurance and other information.