There are a variety of maps communities can utilize to evaluate their vulnerabilities and risks related to flooding.
FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County display flood zones and floodplain boundaries throughout Delaware for insurance purposes. This allows viewers to identify special flood hazard areas, the location of properties in relation to these areas, the base flood elevation at a specific site, the magnitude of flood hazard in an area, and many other features. These maps are based on hydrologic modeling in combination with data from previous flooding incidents. While these are regulatory maps, and their use is mandatory for many purposes, they should not be solely relied upon for flood-readiness and resiliency planning.
The Delaware Coastal Flood Monitoring System is a resource to assess imminent weather and current conditions. This tool, while not applicable for planning, is useful for emergency management and mitigation efforts for upcoming coastal flood events. Similarly, the Delaware Environmental Observing System provides real-time environmental conditions as well as daily and monthly summaries that can be used for emergency planning purposes.
In addition, several maps are available to help Delaware communities evaluate the risk of future projections of flooding in their communities. Delaware Coastal Programs scientists developed Sea Level Rise Inundation Maps that illustrate how various sea level rise scenarios may impact flooding in coastal areas. Communities may use these maps to:
- Assess and plan land use and zoning ordinances to protect community resources and guide new development
- Plan for local impacts to the economy
- Develop future plans for infrastructure
- Plan for coastal community resiliency by determining risks and vulnerabilities
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) interactive Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Map provides visualizations of various sea level rise scenarios. The NOAA map also features layers of social and economic Census data that can be overlaid with sea level rise layers. This allows coastal communities to visualize the potential impacts of sea level rise and coastal flooding in vulnerable areas and properties.
Delaware Sea Grant, the U. S. Geological Survey, and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) have produced Community Flood Map Visualizations. Maps are provided for the following communities in Sussex County, Delaware: Fenwick Island, South Bethany, Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, Pot Nets, Long Neck, Oak Orchard, Lewes, Milford, and Broadkill Beach. This mapping tool features an interactive before/after slider feature that allows users to visualize the extent and depth of flooding for a variety of sea level rise scenarios.