Historically, Morehead City has experienced flooding from tidal changes, excessive rainfall, storm surge and an inadequate drainage system. Areas of town which are prone to flooding include the waterfronts of Bogue Sound, Newport River, Calico Creek, Dill Creek, and their tributaries. Typically, Morehead City experiences flooding during extreme high tides on low-lying streets along Calico Creek. Although the depth of the water is less than one foot, the water can cover as much as sixty to one hundred feet of land. It is important to remember that areas along Calico Creek, the Newport River, and the Bogue Sound waterfront can experience flood conditions from surge surges associates with hurricanes. If you are required to evacuate or find yourself in a flooded area:
Flood Warning System. NOAA, the US Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, keeps round-the-clock surveillance on the nation’s coastal areas and is prepared to issue warnings when the threat of flooding occurs. The National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center produces flood forecasts for major river systems and flash flood guidance for smaller streams and headwater regions. The National Weather Service uses this information to issue flood warnings and flash flood watches to the public. Flash flood warnings are issued by the local Weather Service Office located in Newport, North Carolina. Flood warnings are forecasts of impending floods and are distributed to the public by the NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio and TV and through local emergency agencies. The warning message tells the expected degree of flooding, the affected water body, when and where flooding will begin and the expected maximum river level at specific forecast points during flood crest. Local TV stations and local radio stations report flood watches and warnings.
Flood Insurance. Flood insurance covers all surface floods. Homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. Since Morehead City participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), property owners can purchase a separate flood insurance policy. This insurance is backed by the Federal government and is available for most properties, even for previously flooded properties. Some people have purchase flood insurance because it was required as a condition of a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually, these policies cover only the structure and not the contents. 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. If you do not have flood insurance, speak with your insurance provider.
Drainage System Maintenance. 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.
Substantial Improvement. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires that if the cost of reconstruction, addition, rehabilitation or other improvements to a building located within the special flood hazard area (SFHA) exceed 50% of the building’s market value, then the building must meet the same flood construction requirements as a new building (e.g. must be elevated above base flood elevation). Substantially damaged buildings must be brought up to the same standards. For further information, contact a Morehead City Building Inspector.
Property Protection Measures. There are several things that you can do to protect yourself and your property. The first and most important property protection measure is the purchase of flood insurance.
Community Rating System. The Town of Morehead City participates in the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS). The CRS is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.
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.
Information regarding the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014:
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 was signed into law on March 21, 2014. It repealed and modified certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and made program changes to other aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program. As of April 1, FEMA began phasing in increases to flood insurance premiums for subsidized properties by no less than 5% and typically no more than 18% per year until the class premium reaches its full risk-rate. According to FEMA, 80% of NFIP policyholders already pay a full-risk rate and will be minimally impacted by the change. An annual surcharge will be added to all policies to offset the subsidized policies at a rate of $25 for a primary residence and $250 for all other policies. A full description of the changes is available on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act FEMA fact sheet.
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