As part of the Town of Morehead City’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS), the Morehead City Planning & Inspections Department, in coordination with consulting firm Amec Foster Wheeler, has recently undertaken an evaluation of areas that have experienced repetitive flood damage. This analysis included the review of flood data and studies conducted in these locations as well as collection of the following property level data elements: building permit records (including application and associated records), structure and site elevation information (elevation certificate, if available), Tax ID and lot and parcel number, building property value on record (assessed value, replacement value or both), land property value on record, building codes/floodplain development regulations exceeding minimum standards, and historical flood event information (when events occurred, amount of damage to property, etc.). The adopted Repetitive Loss Area Analysis document is now available.
The State of North Carolina provides this website as a public service to the citizens of North Carolina. The Flood Risk Information System (FRIS) contains digitally accessible flood hazard data, models, maps, risk assessments and reports that are database driven. [Note: To switch between the current “Effective” map, and the “Preliminary” map, click the “Effective” drop down button in the top right corner of the screen.]
Flooding within the Town of Morehead City can be attributed to coastal tidal flooding, riverine flooding, or flash flooding. Hazards with potential to impact Morehead City include the 1% chance annual flood event, localized stormwater flooding, coastal and stream bank erosion, dam failure, as well as hurricanes and tropical storms. Flooding primarily occurs along the waterfronts of Bogue Sound, the Newport River, Calico Creek, and Dill Creek as well as in localized flooding areas. A full description of the flood hazard in Morehead City, including information on past floods and informational maps, can be found in the Morehead City Floodplain Management Plan.
Regulated floodplains are illustrated on inundation maps called Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The FIRM is the official map on which FEMA has delineated both the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) and the risk premium zones applicable to the community. SFHAs represent the 1-percent-annual chance flood event. Structures located in the SFHA have a 26-percent chance of flooding during the life of a 30-year mortgage. FEMA FIRM maps are available for free public viewing online at msc.fema.gov/portal. You can also contact the Morehead City Planning and Inspections Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or (252) 726-6848 x125 for help determining if your property is located in a SFHA, repetitive loss area, or within a dam inundation area, if the property is seaward of the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA), areas which serve natural floodplain functions, and estimated flood depths. In addition, property specific flood maps are available on the North Carolina Flood Risk Information system website.
Flooding is not covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Since Morehead City participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), flood insurance is available to homeowners, condominium owners, commercial owners, and renters. Renters are encouraged to purchase flood insurance for the contents of their home. Homeowners can get up to $250,000 of coverage and businesses up to $500,000. Renters can obtain up to $100,000 of coverage. If you have flood insurance, check the amount or speak with your insurance provider to verify that contents are covered in the event of a flood.
Note that there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect. That means now is the best time to buy flood insurance! Contact your preferred insurance agency for more information. Additional information can be found online at www.floodsmart.gov or by calling 1-888-379-9531.
Additional Flood Insurance Information: http://floodhelp.uno.edu/Portal.aspx?ContentID=33
Morehead City and the Carteret County EOC coordinate with the National Weather Service in issuing public warnings concerning expected floods and storms. Local television and radio stations may announce weather advisories issued by the National Weather Service. These stations may also provide local weather information.
In Carteret County, including Morehead City, emergency alert notifications are provided via CodeRed, a reverse 9-1-1 call network. To receive these notifications, register online at https://public.coderedweb.com/cne/en-US/0DC4FFDC7074.
In the event of a flood hazard event:
Carteret County’s Emergency Operations Plan can be downloaded via the following link: http://carteretcountync.gov/documentcenter/view/2168 (2.33 MB PDF Download)
Real-Time Gage Information through FIMAN:
You can also sign up for the North Carolina Flood Inundation Mapping and Alert Network (FIMAN) which provides rain and stage gage data, flood inundation maps, flooding impacts and alerts in real-time to support risk-based decisions regarding flooding at https://fiman.nc.gov/fiman/. The FIMAN website provides real-time data on stream elevation, rainfall and weather parameters from over 550 gages across North Carolina. Some sites may be rain or stage gages only while some may have weather data available. Many of these gages are managed by the Division of Emergency Management (NCDEM) while some are operated by local government agencies and private organizations. Additionally, gages from the U.S. Geological Survey are included in this network. This web site also contains inundation maps at selected sites across the state as well as along entire river basins. Flooding risk information is provided for areas with inundation maps. For each incremental rise in flood waters buildings, roads, and infrastructure that would be impacted are identified. Information on water depth in each building affected along with estimated damage costs are displayed.
Various methods may be used to minimize flooding. If the first finished floor elevation of your property is lower than the base flood elevation (BFE) established by FEMA, consider elevating your structure. If a flood is imminent, protect your property by sandbagging areas vulnerable to the entry of water. (Note: Sandbags should not be stacked directly against the outer walls of a structure, since when wet, the bags may create added pressure on the foundation.) Valuables and furniture may also be moved to higher areas of the dwelling to minimize damages.
Building Inspections staff can provide one-on-one advice to property owners regarding structural retrofitting measures and Public Services staff can also visit the site in question to review flooding, drainage, and sewer problems. Staff can also provide information on potential sources of financial help for undertaking property protection measures.
Streams, retention/detention basins, and channels can lose their carrying capacities as a result of dumping, debris, sedimentation, and growth of vegetation. When a drainage system loses its carrying or storage capacity, overbank flooding occurs more frequently and floods reach higher elevations. If your property located near a ditch or stream, the banks should be kept clear of brush and debris. The City’s ditch maintenance program can help remove major blockages such as downed trees in ditches on public property in the City Limits. Dumping in ditches and streams is a violation of regulations and should be reported to the Public Services Department at (252) 726-6848 x122 or x132.
Before you build or otherwise develop in a floodplain, contact the Planning & Inspections Department at (252) 726-6848 x125 to discuss requirements in more detail.
Floodplains are a natural component of Morehead City’s environment. Understanding and protecting the natural functions of floodplains helps reduce flood damage and protect resources. When flooding spreads out across the floodplain, its energy is dissipated, which results in lower flood flows downstream, reduced erosion of the stream bank and channel, deposition of sediments and improved groundwater recharge. Floodplains are scenic, valued wildlife habitat. Poorly planned development in floodplains can lead to streambank erosion, loss of valuable property, increased risk of flooding to downstream properties, and degradation of water quality. Did you know that it is illegal to throw anything-ANYTHING AT ALL-into the waters of Morehead City? Did you know that nothing but stormwater is allowed to go in the storm drains located in streets, rights-of-way, and parking lots? Dumping materials into our water or drains pollutes those waters, clogs our storm drains, and leads to flooding in our neighborhoods. For questions, or to report obstructions or violations, call the Morehead City Public Services Department at (252) 726-6848 x122 or x132.
A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. All Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas are subject to hurricanes. While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depressions also can be devastating. A tropical disturbance can grow to a more intense stage through an increase in sustained wind speeds. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October.
The greatest potential for loss of life related to a hurricane is from the storm surge. Storm surge is water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level to heights impacting roads, homes and other critical infrastructure. In addition, wind driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides.
Morehead City is vulnerable to flood damage from hurricane rains and storm surge. Morehead City has been exposed to 87 hurricanes/tropical storms including 32 tropical depressions since 1851. Given the 24 hurricane, tropical storm, and storm surge occurrences recorded by NOAA over a period of 20 years (1996-2016), hurricane-related flooding in Morehead City is likely in the future. A hurricane or tropical storm affects Morehead City on average once every 1.9 years.
Morehead City employs CodeRed, a reverse 9-1-1 call network, to notify residents of emergencies, including hurricane warnings. To receive these notifications you must register at https://public.coderedweb.com/cne/en-US/0DC4FFDC7074. In the event of an emergency, check TV and radio sources for up-to-date information.
For more information and to learn more about what actions to take in the event of a hurricane watch or alert in your area, review FEMA’s Hurricane Preparedness information at www.ready.gov/hurricanes.
In order to be the best prepared for potential flood and other hazard events:
Additional information is available online at www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php.
In Morehead City, there are many other hazards that can impact your property.
Coastal erosion is one example. Coastal erosion is a process whereby large storms, flooding, strong wave action, sea level rise and human activities, such as alterations, wear away the beach and bluffs along the coast. Coastal erosion can wear away natural flood defenses and put property at greater risk of flooding or other property damage in the future. It can also undermine building foundations.
Another example of a hazard which could impact Morehead City is sea level rise. Although sea level rise will likely not directly affect many existing structures, it will likely increase future risk of flooding from other flood hazards, since more land may have a lower elevation relative to sea level. NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer and Sea Level Change Curve Calculator are resources which can help to assess vulnerability to future sea level change.
Much information about flooding and flood hazards as well as the benefits of mitigation from the flood hazard can be found through a variety of stormwater and coastal resources. One such resource is NOAA’s Digital Coast website.
Information about NAI-no adverse impact-can be accessed by visiting www.floods.org or contact the Association of State Floodplain Managers. NAI is a floodplain management technique which sets goals to reduce damage from floods.
FEMA has a variety of online independent study courses which can be accessed through the following site: https://training.fema.gov/is/. This includes FEMA’s online Elevation Certificate training, EC Made Easy: https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-1105.
Morehead City currently maintains copies of elevation certificates for new construction and substantial improvement within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), provides flood protection information, requires higher regulatory standards, requires open space preservation for new development, and provides drainage system maintenance.
As a result of Morehead City’s implementation of these activities and participation in the CRS, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to 10% for properties within the special flood hazard area and to 5% for properties located outside of the special flood hazard area.
Contact staff to determine whether or not your property is located within the special flood hazard area or to receive technical advice on how to protect your buildings from flooding. To see a flood map of your home, go to http://fris.nc.gov/fris/Home.aspx?ST=NC.