HCFCD Flood Education Mapping Tool Contains Features Found Nowhere Else, Plus Basic Flood Education on One Page

Developed after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, the Harris County Flood Control District Flood Education Mapping Tool’s purpose was to help Harris County residents learn the location of their properties in relation to mapped 1-percent (100-year), 0.2-percent (500-year) and coastal floodplains. The Flood Education Mapping Tool includes regularly-updated floodplain information from the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for Harris County, interactive legend options, a simple map display and easy map navigation.

Easy to Use

The tool itself is easy to use and navigate. Click on Floodplains; it will show you the extent of various floodplains. Click on Backgrounds; choose the one you want. And click on Channels; it will highlight all channels in Harris County and show you their numeric IDs. The last is very useful in helping the District locate a problem you’re reporting.

Unique Ponding Feature

But the Flood Education Mapping Tool contains another feature I have found nowhere else: the Ponding button. Click on it; low areas susceptible to ponding during heavy rains will highlight in shades of reddish brown.

HCFCD’s Mapping Tool contains “ponding” feature that that shows low areas that collect water during heavy rains. Shown above, the Deerbrook Mall area in Humble.

Ponding is the collection of stormwater on streets or on undeveloped land that typically forms when rainfall exceeds the design capacity of a street’s drainage system or the land’s ability to drain. The shade of red indicates the depth of the water. Dark red indicates deep ponding and light red indicates shallow ponding – very helpful when evaluating a home purchase.

Basic Flood Education All on One Page of FAQs

The Flood Education Mapping Tool also contains a treasure trove of useful FAQs. The Flood Control District has broken them down into four main categories:

  1. Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM or floodplain map)
  2. Floodplains and Floodways
  3. Floodplain Status/Floodplain Determination
  4. Flood Insurance

If you want a basic flood education on a page, this is the page for you. It will help you converse knowledgeably with a flood-insurance or real-estate agent.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps

• What is a Flood Insurance Rate Map and how do I use it?

Floodplains and Floodways:

• What is a floodplain? / What is a floodway?
• What is a 1 percent (100-year) flood/floodplain? / What are my chances of flooding in a 1 percent (100-year) floodplain?
• What is a 0.2 percent (500-year) flood/floodplain? / What are my chances of flooding in a 0.2 percent (500-year) floodplain?
• What is a coastal floodplain?
• What is a Special Flood Hazard Area?
• What is meant by Base Flood Elevation?
• Who determines the boundaries of a floodplain? / What data is used to create a Flood Insurance Rate Map?

Floodplain Status/Floodplain Determination:

• Is my home located in a mapped floodplain? / Which mapped floodplain is my home in? / How do I get an official floodplain determination?
• What is an Elevation Certificate? / What is a Letter of Map Amendment? / What is a Letter of Map Revision?
• The Flood Insurance Rate Map shows that my lot is in a mapped 1 percent (100-year) floodplain, but my house sits on higher ground/is raised on pier and beam construction/is elevated. Do I still need flood insurance? / Can I obtain cheaper flood insurance?
• My home is not in a mapped 1 percent (100-year), 0.2 percent (500-year) or coastal floodplain. Does this mean I am not at risk for flooding?
• The Harris County Flood Control District is constructing a project on a bayou in my neighborhood. Will my home be out of the floodplain when it’s complete?

Flood Insurance

• Does standard homeowners insurance cover losses and damages from flooding?
• Am I required to have flood insurance? / Do I still need flood insurance if I live outside a mapped 1 percent (100-year) floodplain?
• If my home floods, will federal disaster assistance pay for all of my damages?
• Is damage from wind-driven rain or rain that comes through my roof covered by my flood insurance policy?
• How can I obtain flood insurance?
• How much does flood insurance cost? / Why is my flood insurance so expensive?
• Can I get flood insurance if I rent?

This page of FAQs is extremely well written, concise, and easy to understand. Most answers also contain links to other helpful, related sites. So you can drill down into most topics as deeply as you wish.

I’ve listed Harris County Flood Control District’s Flood Education Mapping Tool on the Links page of this web site under Floodplain Maps and Elevation, so you can find it easily in the future.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/30/2020

1097 Days since Hurricane Harvey