FLOOD HAZARD INFORMATION
OCEAN CITY, MARYLAND
The Town of Ocean City, MD prepared the attached plan in response to Maryland HB 1350/1472 which requires each coastal community that experiences nuisance flooding (typically one foot deep) to develop a plan to address the problem. The Nuisance Flood Plan highlights management actions already taken by the Town to address this portion of the community’s flood risk, and establishes thresholds for future actions. Collecting best practices from other coastal communities and local flood data over the next 5 years will identify changing environmental conditions and inform decisions regarding private and public mitigation actions.
KNOW YOUR FLOOD HAZARD
All property in Ocean City is at some level of risk and subject to flooding from the ocean, coastal bays & heavy rainfall. FEMA recently completed a Coastal RiskMAP study resulting in the adoption of new Flood Insurance Rate Maps. These maps establish new base flood elevations which are used to estimate flood risk, and to guide development activity.
Along the ocean front, the coastal BFE is established as 10 to 14 feet above mean sea level. Along the bayside, the BFE is established as 4 to 6 feet above mean sea level. Generally along either side of Coastal Highway certain properties are no longer mapped in the Special Flood Hazard Area (100 year floodplain) resulting in approximately 4,838 structures located in the X zone or lower flood risk area.
The Town of Ocean City website includes a map viewer that allows a quick search of the adopted flood risk map information. For more detailed information, property owners can request their property’s flood hazard designation by contacting the Department of Planning & Community Development, 410-289-8855.
INSURE YOUR PROPERTY
Ocean City participates in the National Flood Insurance Program making federally backed flood insurance available to all property owners & renters. Additional discounts are also available through CRS (Community Rating System) program participation. Keep in mind that standard homeowner’s insurance policies typically do not cover losses due to flooding. Flood insurance is required in many cases, such as when property is purchased with a federally backed mortgage. Property owners can insure buildings & contents against flood damage & renters can insure possessions. Condominiums should carry a flood insurance policy on the structure itself.
Beginning July 2015, FEMA’s new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) are effective for the Town of Ocean City. As a result of the revised flood maps, new flood zones and new flood rates will apply to flood insurance policies. While many Ocean City properties will experience insurance premium relief, it’s important to remember that OC is a barrier island, subject to severe storms and flooding. Although your lender bank may no longer require you to have flood insurance, based on FEMA’s FIRM map changes, approximately 30% of all flooding in the U.S. occurs in moderate to low risk flood zones. Further, studies show many properties without flood insurance typically are not rebuilt after a flood disaster. For more details about your flood insurance policy and whether you are rated under the new FIRM map, please contact your insurance provider and/or an experienced insurance professional that is well versed in flood insurance.
Flood Insurance is recommended for all properties. If your property is now located in the X zone, consider a Preferred Risk Flood Insurance Policy. The NFIP’s Preferred Risk Policy, or PRP, offers low-cost flood insurance to owners & tenants of eligible residential & non-residential buildings located in moderate- to low-risk areas. See the website https://www.floodsmart.gov/ for more information on flooding and insurance.
PREPARE AND PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY
After getting flood insurance, there are several things you can do to minimize losses in your home and ensure your family’s safety before a flood:
- Safeguard your possessions
- Prepare your property for the storm
- Develop a family emergency plan
For more information visit the Floodsmart.gov website
Flood Warning System: Ocean City has developed a flood warning system as part of our Comprehensive Operations Plan. Since flooding here is caused by storms & hurricanes, the warning system is based on storm severity & location. To stay informed in advance of a storm, sign up for E-News alerts on the Town website.
Did you know that current weather conditions, tides and real time water conditions are available on the Beach Patrol webpage?
PROPERTY PROTECTION MEASURES
There are many ways to protect property from flood damage. Make sure your new building is constructed to meet or exceed code requirements. These include requirements for elevation of building, foundations, venting, etc. There are also ways to retrofit existing buildings to increase protection.
- ELEVATION: Raising structure to bring it above floodwater level.
- FLOOD VENTS: Install and maintain proper flood vents at the correct elevation above the surrounding grade.
- CLOSURES: Involve techniques for protecting gaps left open for daily convenience, such as walks, doors, driveways.
- SEALANTS: Can be applied to walls & floors to keep water from penetrating.
- UTILITY PROTECTION: Flooding sometimes causes costly damage to utility systems. By elevating utilities or shielding them, flooding can be avoided. Moving utilities to less flood-prone locations can also minimize damage.
- LEARN MORE: Review flood protection information located in the Ocean City Library.
Floodplain Development Permit Requirements:
Ocean City Code requires a building permit be obtained for nearly all construction, structural repair work, and placement of accessory structures. The Floodplain Ordinance regulates all development in Ocean City including areas within the Special Flood Hazard Area mapped on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps. The city reviews plans to be sure buildings are constructed to withstand flooding. Permits are also required before any land development (grading, filling, etc.) occurs in the floodplain to ensure activities do not increase flooding potential on or around property.
Part of the permit process involves preparation of elevation certificates, which provide a record of the structure’s lowest floor elevation to predicted flood levels. Elevation certificates records are maintained by Ocean City for review by insurance agents, property owners & other interested persons. Obtain information & permits from Department of Planning & Community Development at City Hall 410.289.8855, Jake Doub, Floodplain Administrator ([email protected] ). Illegal floodplain activity can also be reported here. Learn about the Substantial Improvement rules by contacting the P/CD Office.
PROTECT NATURAL FLOODPLAINS AND STORM DRAINS
Floodplains in their natural state provide many beneficial functions. Primary undeveloped flood plain areas in Ocean City are beaches, dunes, and the bayside marshes. These natural areas perform the first line of defense against flood damage from the ocean and storm flooding. Taking care of dunes by not walking on them & maintaining vegetation is essential to retaining their flood protection function. Bayside, wetlands & other open spaces act as sponges, storing floodwaters before they reach upland areas. These natural areas are protected by Federal, State & Local regulations.
Drainage System Maintenance: It is important our drainage system be kept clear of obstructions & debris. The Town’s littering ordinance prohibits throwing trash onto any public property, including storm drains & sewers. To report violations & clogged drainage ways, call 410-524-7716. Report any dumping of wastes you witness to the Environmental Engineer by calling 410-289-8825. Learn more at: https://oceancitymd.gov/oc/departments/engineering/environment/pollution-prevention-plan/
STAY INFORMED AND BE PREPARED
The Department of Planning & Community Development and the City Engineer can assist with questions about flood protection & flood insurance, including historical flooding information so you can relate flood potential to your property; site visits to advise appropriate flood protection techniques; review retrofitting plans; locate property on flood insurance rate maps to determine flood zones & research elevation certificates for existing buildings to determine height above floodwaters. For more information, call 410-289-8855 or fill out the contact information at the bottom of the Town webpage.
Elevation Certificates (Ocean City, MD) (Google Docs – Once on page you can search by holding down Ctrl key and F)
Maryland Flood Insurance Rate Maps (select “Flood Risk Application” on the right)