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Understand Your Risk

We are
RESILIENT

In Harris County, flooding is our natural disaster. On average, we experience a major flood somewhere every two years - and each time our communities come together to rebuild. But being resilient is about more than rebuilding - it’s about planning ahead and creating the tools we need to make smarter, more informed decisions before, during, and after disaster strikes.

OUR CHALLENGES

RAINY CLIMATE

Harris County is prone to extreme rainfall events. We receive more annual rainfall than most other parts of Texas.

HIGH URBANIZATION

Harris County has more people than any other county in Texas. This means more buildings and roadways and fewer safe places for water to go.

GULF COASTAL PLAIN

Our region is low-lying with flat landscape, and predominately clay soils that do not absorb water very well.

HOW WE OVERCOME THEM

MANAGE THE FLOOD RISK

The Harris County Flood Control District works with entities that outfall to our systems to ensure that there will be no impact to receiving waters.

DEVISE AND IMPLEMENT FLOOD DAMAGE REDUCTION PROJECTS

Harris County’s flood control infrastructure is extensive, including more than 1,500 channels, including creeks and bayous, totaling about 2,500 miles in length.

MAINTAIN THE MOST DATA-RICH FLOOD MAPPING SYSTEM IN THE NATION

The Flood Control District is continuously improving its flood data and modeling methods in order to prevent the increase of flood risk.

Where it Rains, it can Flood.

While reducing risk is possible, eliminating risk is not. Our County must cope with the natural flooding potential in order to enjoy everything else our region has to offer. Several hundred thousand homes and businesses are located in the floodplain, and projects to reduce the risk of flooding are estimated in the billions of dollars.






Flooding tops the list of natural
threats to our homes, businesses, and valued
property in Harris County.

where-rain-flood






Every structure in Harris County
should have flood
insurance.

INTERACTIVE MAPS

The Harris County Flood Control District uses interactive maps to visualize and examine the history of flooding in Harris County. 

Flood Loss History Since 1979
This map provides a visual representation of where all flooding claims have occurred throughout the county since 1978. A property's flood risk can be a influenced by many factors but it's important to remember that it can flood anywhere in Harris County. 
As homes are rebuilt to higher elevations and flood damage reductions projects are completed, hot spot areas may no longer be subject to frequent flooding.
Includes losses due to all types of flooding
Census tracts Census tracts in dark red contained the most structural flooding for the selected event.
Total flooded structures
CensusTrackGradient.jpg
Historical Inundation Map
The Flood Control District maintains an extensive network of water elevation gages in Harris County. Displayed are estimates of riverine flooding extents from select historical flooding events. Includes only streams with gages, not all HCFCD channels.
The FEMA 100-Year floodplain map does not represent any specific historic or future event. It represents the area that has a one in 100, or 1-percent, chance of a flood in any given year. 
Mapping includes Riverine flooding extents on gauged streams only.
Use this icon to select from some recent major flooding events.
Water Surface Elevation Gage Water Surface Elevation Gage
BlueBox.jpg Estimated Flooding Extents
Flood Loss History by Event
On average, Harris County experiences a significant flooding event every few years. But Harris County is a big place and not all of the County experiences flooding as frequently. Use this map to explore Harris County's flood history by Census Tract since 1980. 
Many of the floodplain management tools in place today such as detention requirements were established in the 1980’s. Many of the areas that flood frequently were developed before many of these floodplain practices were implemented. 
Includes losses due to all types of flooding
Layers Use this icon to select from some recent major flooding events.
Census tracts Census tracts in dark red contained the most structural flooding for the selected event.
Flooded Structures by Event
CensusTrackGradient.jpg

IT CAN FLOOD ANYWHERE IN HARRIS COUNTY
AND IT CAN HAPPEN FAST.

You do not have to liver near a bayou, lake, or river to flood. In Harris County we have 3 primary ources of flooding: Riverine, Coastal, and Community.

Riverine Flooding
Caused by rainfall runoff totals exceed the carry capacity of our bayous and creeks flooding adjacent lands.
riverine-flood-drawing.png
Coastal Flooding
Caused by high tides driven by tropical storms or hurricanes.
coastal-flood-drawing.png
Community Flooding
Can occur when rainfall intensity surpasses the ability of the local drainage infrastructure such as a storm sewer or roadside ditch.
community-flood-drawing.png
Most of the flooding is in areas developed prior to the current understanding of flood potential and prior to regulations restricting construction in flood-prone areas. Fortunately, since the 1970s, there has been flood insurance to ease the financial impact of flooding. Despite tremendous flood damage reduction projects that have indeed reduced the risk of flooding, more flood insurance funds have been paid here than in any other National Flood Insurance Program-participating community.
fema-map-thumb.jpg
fema-icon.png
Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center to identify your current flood risk.

Call your insurance agent today and protect what you've built.

Even if you live in an area with low or moderate flood risk, you are 5 times more likely to experience flood than a fire in your home over the next 30 years. For many, a National Flood Insurance Program's flood insurance policy could cost less than $400 per year.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are the project outcomes?

MAAPnext’s purpose is to update the FEMA FIRMs, by modeling and assessing the County’s flood risk and building awareness among area residents. The project uses historical data along with new technology and methodologies to produce the County’s most comprehensive and complete set of flood hazard maps and information to date.

Using results of the study, the Flood Control District will develop updated floodplain mapping, flood risk information, and online tools to increase the public’s awareness of flood risk and empower them to make more informed decisions to protect themselves and their property. Updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) will ultimately be finalized by FEMA. The study results also will give government officials and regulators more reliable information on flood risks that need to be considered and mitigated moving forward.

What is FEMA's role?

The Flood Control District's ongoing partnership with FEMA has led to MAAPnext, as well as the Tropical Storm Allison Recovery Project (TSARP), which was initiated in 2001 and resulted in new FIRMs for all of Harris County in 2007. The updated MAAPnext flood maps will be produced using the most current science and technology available and will give us the best understanding yet of the extents of 100-year floodplains. The Flood Control District is participating in partnership with FEMA to deliver this effort, providing local matching funds and authorizing negotiations with expert engineering firms to support delivery of MAAPnext.

These advancements allow the Flood Control District to understand and map flooding related to bayous, creeks, and other natural drainage patterns. Additionally, the Flood Control District will be able to identify and map flooding in streets and neighborhoods on a county-wide level.

MAAPnext will develop the next generation of flood mapping. Along with new FEMA FIRMs, additional tools will be developed for communicating the results of this project.

What will MAAPnext do?

Using new methodologies and technologies, MAAPnext will provide a better understanding of flood risks throughout Harris County, including previously unmapped urban flooding. Since its inception in 1937, the Flood Control District has continually worked to better understand and manage flood risk throughout the county. This project represents a transformative step in the management and regulation of Harris County’s floodplains. Recent advancements in hydrologic and hydraulic modeling software and methodologies allow the Flood Control District to identify and evaluate flood risks in greater detail than was previously possible.

These advancements will allow the Flood Control District to understand and map flooding related to bayous, creeks and other natural drainage patterns. Additionally, the Flood Control District will be able to identify and map flooding in streets and neighborhoods on a county-wide level.

MAAPnext will develop the next generation of flood mapping. Along with new FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), additional tools will be developed for communicating the results of this project.

Will MAAPnext replace FEMA flood insurance maps?

New FIRMS for Harris County will be produced as part of MAAPnext. The Flood Control District is responsible for assessing flood hazards and preparing draft flood zone mapping. The effective FIRM is produced, maintained, and published by FEMA. Please visit FEMA's Map Service Center at msc.fema.gov to view the FIRM in effect for Harris County. For an official floodplain determination, please contact an insurance agent or mortgage lender.

What happens if my mapped flood risk increases, and when will I know about this?

Initial MAAPnext findings and updated, preliminary FIRMs will not be available until released by FEMA in fall of 2022. The Flood Control District and FEMA will be partnering to implement a widespread public engagement program to ensure all communities within Harris County have the opportunity to review preliminary FIRMs and provide comments.

When FEMA releases a preliminary FIRM for a community, caution must be exercised in using this data. For insurance purposes, preliminary FIRMs cannot be used to make official flood determinations. The currently effective FIRM is the only official document for this purpose. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center to identify your current flood risk. (https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home)

If the current effective FIRM shows your property outside the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and the new, revised preliminary FIRM shows your property as being in the SFHA, you may want to explore your options to reduce your risk of flood damage and lower your insurance payments. FEMA offers ways for you to cut your monthly insurance premium in the event your home’s mapped flood risk increases. You may want to contact your insurance agent to determine your options for purchasing a flood insurance policy. For more information, visit https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance.

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