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What Makes a Flood Zone

The Midwest is known for having unpredictable weather, this causes several floods every year. Approximately 24% of Indiana was historically covered in wetlands. Even to this day, the circumstances still can cause flooding. When it comes to flooding, the landscape and hill of the Midwest can cause severe flooding. Knowing what type of area you live in can help with knowing what risk you might be in. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works with communities across the country to identify flood hazards and promote ways to reduce the impact of those and other hazards. Flood maps are used for floodplain management, flood insurance rating, and to determine flood insurance requirements.

Types of Risk Area

Flood zones are rated based on the severity and type of flood risk. What type of zone you live in may affect the flood insurance you need as well as what precautions you may need to take to protect your home. A flood zone will determine how much flood insurance will cost, and whether or not it is mandatory to carry flood insurance. FEMA measures flood zones based on their risk of 100-year or 500-year flood. A 100-year floodplain is an area that is predicted to have a 1% chance of flooding in any given year. Similarly, a 500-year flood is a flood that has a 1 in 500 chance of happening.

There are 4 types of flood zone areas. These are defined as:

  • A: Flood zones that start with A are considered to be at high-risk for flooding. These areas are usually along ponds, rivers, and streams.

  • B or shaded X: These flood zones are considered to be moderate risk areas.

  • C or un-shaded X: These areas are considered to be at low risk for floods.

  • V: These areas have not been evaluated for flood risks.

The designation V is used for high-risk coastal areas, which may receive damage due to flooding and strong waves in storms.

Low-Risk Areas

Low-risk areas are categorized by FEMA as C and X. These are areas that are considered to be above the level of risk for a 500-year flood. They’re also protected from 100-year floods by levees.

Moderate Risk Areas

Areas of moderate risk are between the 100-year and 500-year flood limits. They may be protected by levees from 100-year floods, but there may still be up to 1 foot of flooding in these areas.

High-Risk Areas

There are a variety of different types of high-risk areas according to FEMA’s classification. Any zone that contains the letter A (A, AE, A1-A30, AH, AO, AR, and A99) are considered high-risk flood zones. Most areas classified as a type of A zone had a 26% chance of flooding over the course of a thirty-year period of time.

Coastal Areas

FEMA classifies coastal flood zones with the letter designation V: V, VE, and V1-V30. These zones are coastal areas that are, similar to high-risk areas, at a 26% risk of a flood during a thirty-year time period.


FEMA classifies any “undetermined” areas as D zones. These are areas where no analysis of the flood risk has been carried out, so FEMA cannot make an informed assessment of the risk.

Let your friends at Blue River Restoration be the ones to help with your flood damage and get your life and property back in working order.

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