How Elevation Determines Flood Risk

How Elevation Determines Flood Risk

May 4, 2022

Floods are a terribly destructive force that can not only damage the land around your home or property but can also damage and destroy the buildings on the property. Determining the flood elevation of a property can help you decide if you need flood insurance and assess your own flood risk. So what is flood elevation and how does it affect your property? Keep reading to find out.

What Is a Negative Flood Elevation?

When determining the risk of a flood there are three types of elevation to consider. The first is base flood elevation. This is the typical elevation and the elevation at which the risk of flood is normal and starts to go down as you go up. The next is positive flood elevation. This is any elevation that is above the base elevation. The higher your flood elevation, the less likely it is that your property will flood.

The last is negative flood elevation. This is any elevation that falls below the base elevation determination. The lower or more negative the elevation, the higher the risk of a flood. Traditionally, if the water in the area that you are looking at rises more than three feet at any given time during the year, you want to be above that mark to ensure your home or other property is not going to be flooded.

How Do Floods Affect a Property?

Floods are very destructive. Let’s start by looking at what they can do to the land itself. They can wash away dirt and vegetation, including trees. They can wash away loose gravel and rocks and even driveways. They can damage the ground and wash away topsoil and anything that you might have outside of the property.

Moving on to buildings, floods can cause damage to the foundation of buildings so that they have to be repaired. They can cause extensive water damage that requires repair. Floods can also wash some buildings away if the water is strong enough and can cause so much damage that the building has to be torn down and rebuilt.

Floods are incredibly destructive, and they tend to come on quickly and with very little warning. It takes only minutes for water levels to rise and potentially trap you inside your building or even sweep your car away with you inside. When buying or constructing a building, you want to look at the flood elevation map and try to buy land that is well out of the flood zone.

If you are purchasing land or a building that is in a flood zone, it is highly suggested that you also purchase flood insurance to help protect your property from the damage of floods. Flood insurance can help you recover the cost of rebuilding after a flood and can help you protect your investment.

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