Flooding & Flood Safety
The City of Hampton's low-lying geographic location, with many waterways, make much of the city extremely susceptible to flooding.
There are two types of areas affected by flooding:
- The floodplain: This is the area mapped by the federal government — FEMA — identifying areas most likely to flood during intense rain — which may or may not be accompanied by tidal surges. It also determines whether you need flood insurance.
- Storm surge flooding. This area is affected when a hurricane, tropical storm or nor-easter cause persistent high winds and changes in air pressure that push water toward the shore in a storm surge. When this occurs at high tide and/or in combination with heavy rains, it can affect larger areas. Most of Hampton is in a surge zone. The surge zone map (PDF) shows areas that could affected according to the strength of a hurricane (Category 1, 2, etc.).
- Storm evacuations: Hampton is using new state-designated tiered evacuation zones. "Know your zone": Type in your address so you can be prepared to react in case a storm threatens.
For floodplain information please call the City's 311 Citizen Contact Center at 3-1-1 or 757-727-8311. Your request will be directed to the Development Services Office. Flood information is also available at the Development Services Office, 3rd floor, City Hall, 22 Lincoln Street or call 757-728-2444. For information about the FEMA home elevation program or other cost-share opportunities, call the City's 311 Citizen Contact Center at 757-727-8311 or call the Office of Emergency Management at 757-727-1208.
To know your flood risk, understand flood maps, locate an insurance agent in your area, or if you need basic flood policy information contact FloodSmart, the official site of the National Flood Insurance Program, at Flood Smart or call 1-888-379-9531.
FEMA has set up an advocate to help people who have questions about their insurance premiums, remapping of their property or flood mitigation. Go online to contact the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate.
Published tide tables at specific locations are available on the internet to show the daily times for each low and high tide, and these low and high tide times shift about an hour each day. Also, these tide tables typically show time adjustments for low and high tides for various locations around the Chesapeake Bay. (The farther a location is from the Atlantic Ocean, the greater the adjustment, since it takes time for the rising water level to flow up the Chesapeake Bay from the ocean.) The difference between the elevation of the high tide and the low tide is referred to as "tidal range," and the average tidal range in Hampton Roads is approximately 2.5 feet. This range varies with each tidal cycle.
Hampton and the U.S. Geological Survey have four tide gauges online to monitor water levels in the region:
- Newmarket Creek and Mercury Boulevard
- The Hampton River at Route 351
- Brick Kiln Creek at the NASA Langley Research Facility
- Sewells Point in Norfolk
Find more information on:
- Mitigation Ideas and Tips on Rebuilding
- Reducing coastal flooding risk on the Gulf and East coasts (video)
- Final Hampton Tidal Floodplain Study (PDF), September 2014 (Paper copies of the Tidal Floodplain Study and Protection Plan, brochure and maps are now available at the city's Main, Phoebus and Willow Oaks libraries)
- Floodplain maps: Are you in or out of the 100-year flood zone? You can input your address in the city's GIS map program. Type in your address, select your property and use the "map" tab. Then, click on the floodplain layer. For an official map, you must use FEMA's map center; you may wish to view the instructions pages first.
- Surge zone map (PDF).
- Flood Insurance: What is and what isn't covered under flood insurance?
- Property Protection: Some more things you can you do to make your property flood-resistant.
- Natural, Beneficial Functions of a Floodplain: Nature has a purpose for floodplains.
- Rebuilding After a Flood: What are the requirements for making substantial improvements after your property has been damaged by flooding?