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Jane Wenner


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Emergency Management Calendar



Flood Management Information

Flood Protection Information
Natural and Beneficial Functions
Developing in Floodplain
Substantial Improvement/damage requirements
Flood Protection Assistance and Flood Zone Determination
Flood Insurance
Flood Protective Measures
Flood Safety Gloucester’s Flood Warning Procedure
Drainage System Maintenance
Elevation Certificates

National Flood Insurance Changes

National Flood Insurance Changes Presentation


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FEMA Issued Flood Maps

Flood Hazard Map
(761 KB)

Flood Zone Definitions
(10 KB) 

Comprehensive Plan
(78 MB)

September 2009 Final Floodplain Management Plan
(6.6 MB)

Floodplain Management Ordinance
(96 KB)

Purpose of the Open Space Plan 
(126 KB)

Flood Fact Sheet (5 MB)


 Flood Protection Information

Gloucester County with the Chesapeake Bay to the east, the York River to the south, and the Piankatank River to the north has many coastal floodplains. In addition, the North, Severn, and Ware Rivers located within the county, along with numerous creeks, streams, and wetlands provide numerous floodplains.

Floods and flash floods occur from excessive rainfall, intense thunderstorms and tropical storms and hurricanes. Coastal flooding occurs when strong onshore winds push water from an ocean bay or inlet onto land. This can take the form of storm surges associated with tropical storms, hurricanes or nor’easters. A storm surge is a rapid rise in the level of water that moves onto land as the storm makes landfall. As the hurricane approaches the coast, its winds drive the water towards the shore and the rising sea floor blocks the building water’s escape. It comes to shore as a storm surge that can last for several hours. During high tide the storm surge will be even deeper and more extensive.

Storms in recent years have caused flooding damage in Gloucester County. Hurricane Floyd in September 1999 which had rainfall in some areas from 12 to 18 inches during the storm. September 2003 Hurricane Isabel created a tidal surge of 6.4 feet at Gloucester Point and wind gusts up to 85 miles per hour throughout Gloucester County. The remnants of Tropical Storm Ernesto generated strong winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge.

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Natural and Beneficial Functions

The Floodplain in Gloucester County contains valuable natural resources including wetlands, beaches, forests, rivers, streams and the plant and animal communities that inhabit them. Highlighting the county are vast salt marshes and expansive rivers and creeks. These natural resources are unique to the Chesapeake Bay Region and are important to Gloucester County’s environment and economic welfare. These resources are part of the Resource Protection Area (RPA) which includes tidal and non-tidal wetlands, tidal shores and the 100’ buffer adjacent and landward of these areas. The RPA has sensitive features that filter sediments and pollutants and prevent erosion.

To help preserve and protect these valuable resource areas Gloucester County has adopted the following programs which are administered locally: Chesapeake Bay Preservation, Erosion and Sediment Control, Wetlands Protection, and Floodplain Management.

For more information on Gloucester County’s environmental programs visit our website.

Visit the FEMA website for more information on Protecting Floodplain Resources.

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Developing in Floodplain

Always check with the Gloucester County Codes Compliance office before you build on, clear, grade or fill your property. Permits may be required for these activities.

If you see building, clearing, grading or filling on a property without a permit posted please call the Codes Compliance office at (804) 693-1217.

For building permit information see the Gloucester County Codes Compliance website.

For information on construction in the flood zone you can view Technical Bulletins at the FEMA website.

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Substantial Improvement/damage requirements

If your home/dwelling is located within a flood zone and you plan to substantially improve your dwelling with additions, renovations and/or repairs from damage you will be required to elevate the dwelling to meet the requirements for new construction. The Gloucester County Floodplain Management Ordinance requires the dwelling floor be elevated to 1 foot above base flood elevation (BFE).

Substantial improvement/damage means any repair, reconstruction, improvement or damage of any origin to the structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds fifty (50) percent of the market value of the structure either (a) before the improvement or repair is started, or (b) if the structure has been damaged and is being restored, before the damage occurred.

Any questions you have about Substantial Improvement or Substantial damage should be directed to the Building Division of Codes Compliance at (804) 693-2744.

Information on Increased Cost of Compliance:



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Flood Protection Assistance and Flood Zone Determination

The Office of Codes Compliance provides flood protection assistance to citizens. This assistance provides information on how to select a qualified contractor and what recourse individuals have if dissatisfied with a contractor’s performance; conduct site visits to review flooding, drainage, and sewer problems and provide one-on-one advice to property owner on flood proofing and retrofitting techniques. Federal Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are also available in the office for your individual use or at the FEMA web link above.

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Flood Insurance

Gloucester County is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program, which makes it possible for property owners to obtain federally backed flood insurance. This insurance is available to any owner of insurable property in this county (with exception of those properties located in FEMA designated coastal barrier areas.) Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover losses due to floods. We urge persons who live or own property in flood hazard areas to purchase flood insurance to protect themselves from losses due to flooding. This insurance is required if purchasing a home through a federally backed mortgage.

Flood insurance policies are available from local insurance companies. The actual cost may vary depending on the degree of flood hazard and the amount of coverage desired. Residents who live or own property in flood hazard areas are urged to purchase flood insurance to protect themselves from losses due to flooding. Don't wait until it's too late. A flood insurance policy takes thirty (30) days from application to effective date of coverage .Flood Insurance Rate Maps are available at the Gloucester County Office of Codes Compliance and the Gloucester County Library. To determine if your property is located in a designated coastal barrier area or floodplain, you may contact the office of Codes Compliance at (804) 693-2744.

To find out more on flood insurance, estimate your premium and find an agent:

or call 1-888-435-6637

For more information for homeowners and renters on flood insurance: www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/floodins/infocon.shtm

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Flood Protective Measures

If your property is located in a flood zone there are various actions that should be taken to flood-proof your existing home and other structures. Electrical panel boxes, furnaces, water heaters, and washers/dryers should be elevated or relocated to a location less likely to be flooded. Basement floor drains and interior and exterior backwater valves can be installed, and interior floodwalls can be placed around utilities.

Emergency Flood Proofing Measures

Emergency flood proofing measures are generally less expensive, though they require substantial advance warning and do not satisfy the minimum requirements for watertight flood proofing as set forth by the National Flood Insurance Program ( NFIP). Some such temporary measures include:

Building walls with sandbags

Constructing a double row of walls with boards and posts to create a "crib", then filling the crib with soil.

Constructing a single wall by stacking small beams or planks on top of each

Consider the need for backup systems

Portable pumps to remove flood water

Alternate power sources such as generators or gasoline powered pumps.

Battery-powered emergency lighting

Participate in community flood control projects

Family Disaster Supply Kit

It is wise to keep a family disaster supply kit with seven days worth of supplies on hand that include items such as a portable radio with fresh batteries, flashlights, canned goods and non-perishable foods, containers for drinking water, materials for protecting windows and doors, and in case of evacuation a full tank of gasoline.

Family Disaster Plan

Develop a family disaster plan to decide where to go if at home, school, work, outdoors, or in a car if a flood warning is issued. Update these plans every year and as schools, employment or residences change.

Learn More

To learn more about what you can do to protect your property from flooding, visit the Gloucester Public Library and read more about it.

For more information on flood proofing you may want to look at the following materials that the FEMA library offers:

Above the Flood: Elevating your Flood Prone House www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1424
Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage

For additional information on preparedness, please see our Emergency Services website

Follow this link for information on the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

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Flood Safety

Several actions can be taken by floodplain residents to reduce the potential of injury due to flooding.

Do not walk through flowing water. Currents can be deceptive and can knock you off your feet. If you must walk through standing water carry a stick or pole with you to test ground where you are walking.

Do not drive through flooded areas. If you come to a flooded road TURN AROUND, you won’t know the depth of the water or the condition of the road under the water. Many deaths occur when automobiles are swept downstream.

Evacuate the flood hazard area in times of impending flood or when advised to.

Shut off all utilities, including electricity, water services and gas to your home.

The following websites on flood safety may be helpful:



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Gloucester’s Flood Warning Procedure

The Gloucester County Emergency Operations Plan ( EOP ) was developed to prepare the county for a variety of disasters, including flooding. If a flood should occur, warning and emergency communications will be directed and controlled from the Communications Center located in the Sheriff’s Department (804) 693 3890. This facility is operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The telecommunicator on duty will notify key personnel, chiefs, and department heads as required. The center operates the VCIN & NCIC Teletype, which is responsible for receiving primary warning messages from the Virginia State Police.

The County Public Information Officer (PIO) will maintain up-to-date telephone communication with all local news organizations and will remain accessible by telephone throughout the duration of the emergency situation. Flood, hurricane, and tropical storm warnings should be provided 24 hours in advance of the storm event. Should evacuation action be necessary the Reverse 911 system will be activated.

Radio Stations:

WXGM (AM 1420 or FM 99.1), WKEZ (FM 94), WQSF (FM 96), & 2WD (FM 102), NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio.

Television Stations:

WTKR – Channel 3, WVEC – Channel 13, & WAVY – Channel 10


The Daily Press, The Gazette-Journal, & The Glo-Quips

Reverse 911 System: The reverse 911 system allows the County to contact citizens via phone in a short amount of time to let them know what they need to do to be safe in the event of an emergency.

Should an evacuation become necessary, warnings and evacuation instructions will be put out through radio and television stations mentioned above. The Sheriff’s Department, assisted by the fire departments, may use mobile loudspeakers to ensure that residents in the threatened areas receive evacuation warnings. In a major disaster, public schools will be designated as primary Evacuation Assembly Centers.

Evacuation information can be found on VDOT’s website.

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Drainage System Maintenance

As a resident of Gloucester County you may already have a BMP (Best Management Practice). These are structural or vegetation devices designed to reduce sediment and pollutant loads contained in storm water runoff. These may include dry wells, infiltration trenches, vegetative filter strips and grass swales. Larger projects may include wet ponds and extended detention ponds. With the adoption of the Chesapeake Bay Act, installation of a BMP required a maintenance agreement to be recorded in the County Clerks office,(804) 693 2502. In addition Gloucester County Code, Section 9-36 prohibits the placement of any refuse or containers over or in storm drains or storm drain inlets. Violations may be reported to the Gloucester County Codes Compliance Office at (804) 693 1217.

Many of the roads in Gloucester County are state roads and the roads and the ditches associated with them are state maintained. If you find obstructions impeding the functions of these ditches please contact VDOT in Saluda at (804) 758-2321.

The remainder of the roads in the County are privately owned and maintained. With the hurricane season approaching residents living on private roads may want to check ditches and remove any debris or obstructions.

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Elevation Certificates

The new elevation certificate forms (FEMA form 81-31) are in effect and must be in use as of April 1, 2010. These new certificate forms may be found at the FEMA website.

Existing/completed elevation certificates are on file in the Gloucester County Office of Codes Compliance and are available for review during normal business hours (Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) by appointment or you may call (804) 693-2744.

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