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Flood Zone Information

Welcome to Avon-by-the-Sea’s Flood Information Center

What is flood risk?

Flood risk is hard to define because it can mean different things in different scenarios. Oftentimes, flood risk is a measure of flood vulnerability. You can think of it as the product of flood event probability and total amount of assets potentially exposed to the event. You’ve probably heard people discuss the probability in this equation in terms of 100-year floods or 500-year floods. These terms can be confusing. You might be tempted to think that a 100-year flood only happens once every 100 years. If you were recently flooded, you wouldn’t experience another one for another 99 years. In reality, the 100-year flood is a flood event that has a 1% chance of happening every year. Similarly, a 500-year flood is one that has a 0.2% chance of happening every year. These are statistical terms that describe likelihood, which means that, while unlikely, you could plausibly experience a 100-year flood two years in a row!

Gafield Pavillion After Sandy

Garfield Pavilion After Superstorm Sandy 2012 

What is a flood zone?
Flood zones are defined by FEMA and delineated on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). High-risk flood zones are described as part of an area known as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). The SFHA is what must be regulated through floodplain management in order for our community to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If that’s confusing, think of it like this: the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is the area of concern for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Within the SFHA, there are different zones that correspond to different types of hazards. These are called flood zones. There are many different flood zones but some of the most common are:

  • X: Areas subject to flooding by the 0.2-percent annual chance flood event. These are considered to be lower risk than A, AE, V, and VE zones and are not included in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)
  • A: Areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent annual chance flood event that don’t have Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) calculated. Sometimes A zones are called “Approximate A” zones.
  • AE: Areas subject to flooding by the 1 percent annual chance flood event that have Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) calculated (the E in AE stands for “elevation”!). Coastal AE zones also exist. These are areas of special flood hazards extending inland to the limit of the 1.5-foot breaking wave.
  • V: Areas along coasts subject to inundation by the 1-percent annual chance flood event with additional hazards associated with storm-induced waves.
  • VE: Areas along coasts subject to flooding by the 1-percent annual chance flood event with additional hazards associated with storm-induced waves. These are different from V zones in that (like AE zones) they have Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) calculated.

In the above list, the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is referenced often. BFEs are important to floodplain management in that they often serve as regulatory thresholds for development and building permits. This means that some of the construction in our community is required to be elevated to or above the BFE. If you have questions about this, feel free to contact us using the information listed in the next section.

How do I know if I’m in a flood zone?
FLOOD MAPS
The links below will take you to the current effective flood maps and the preliminary flood maps. The preliminary flood maps are considered the best available data and are being used for substantial improvements and new construction.

Preliminary Flood Map

If you would like more information about your individual flood risk, or if you would like to learn more about your flood zone, you can reference ForeRunner Map Service Center for Avon-By-The-Sea

Avon-By-The-Sea Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance" (Borough Code Chapter #104)
Flood Plain Development Permit
Flood Protection Library

Below are links to brochures that cover the following topics:

Knowing your Flood Hazard
Insuring your Property
Protecting People from the Hazard
Protecting your Property from the Hazard
Building Responsibly
Protecting Natural Floodplain Functions