Three Ways to Find Out If You Are In a Floodplain

Here are three quick and easy ways to find out if you are in a mapped floodplain of any kind.

FEMA – National Scope

The first site is FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer Viewer. Using this site, you can check any piece of property in the country…including Pike’s Peak or Walden Pond…just in case you want to do a Thoreau.

Another benefit of the FEMA site is that it spans county boundaries, i.e., if you live on the Harris/Montgomery County Line.

FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer Viewer can track creeks, etc. across county lines. Please note the big green space in the center of the frame. This is the new Perry Homes development, Woodridge Forest. Neither the FEMA map, nor the MoCo map below contain flood zone information for this area although much of it was wetlands before Perry clear cut it.

Harris County

Harris County operates a site called “Flood Education Mapping Tool.” The Harris County site superimposes drainage ditches, streams, creeks, bayous and rivers and even gives you their names and numbers. Very helpful if you want to report a problem some day, or track up or downstream to see where drainage issues may be originating.

Detail from Harris County map showing only drainage features and major streets in the Lake Houston Area.

Montgomery County

Montgomery County operates a site called “Am I in a Floodplain?” It includes some very helpful interactive tools, topographic maps and more.

People on Killerbee Lane will be pleased to know that they are not in any mapped floodplain.

Benefits of County Sites

According to Diane Cooper, a hydrologist with more than 20 years of experience in forecasting floods, both of the County sites have better imagery and more layers than the FEMA site.

Layers comprise one of the key features of both county sites. Experiment with them. I’m especially fond of the background layers.

They let you see the flood zones superimposed over simple maps, satellite images, historical satellite images, and more. The Montgomery County site even lets you click on streets and information about them pops up. I learned, for instance, that one subdivision in MoCo has a street named Paper Wasp Lane. You really don’t want to mess with the people on that street! It’s not far from Killerbee Lane. Let’s get up a football game between those two streets! I’d pay to see that.

Posted by Bob Rehak on October 10, 2019, with help from Diane Cooper

771 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 20 since Imelda