Residents don't realize they're in flood danger

By Andrew Freiden - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The biggest risk from hurricanes in central Virginia is inland flooding and many of us could be in danger without even knowing it.

"Any time there's a new roof, parking lot, road, it creates a potential for more risk," said Matthew Wall with the Virginia Department of Emergency.

As we turn more farmland and forest into homes and businesses, our threat grows.

"The more impervious surface we have, means the less rainwater and storm water can soak directly in the ground so that directly increases our risk," he said.

The recent flooding in Nashville reminds us, no one is 100% safe from flooding. Some of those Nashville homes aren't in a flood plain, so some owners and renters didn't have flood insurance and lost everything. Same thing for 60 homes that were condemned after flooding in Battery Park in Richmond.

Matthew Wall says everyone should check their risk.

"I'm a very big fan of people purchasing flood insurance," said Wall.

If you have a mortgage and you are in a flood plain, you probably have insurance-- mandated by your bank. But the rest of us? It's time to go online.

Your first step: go to And enter your address. You'll get a quick answer: low, moderate, or high risk. Next step, go to FEMA's map service center at Put in your address and you'll find the latest flood map for your area.

If your house is in a dark section-- you're in the flood plain. That's called the 100 year flood area but it actually means that area has a 1% risk of flooding every year.

"There are places in Virginia that have had the 100 year flood several times in the past," Wall said.

And as we add more pavement, more areas are prone to flooding. So if you live close to one of those shaded areas-- now is the time go online, check your risk, and start planning. 

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