FEMA/Flood Zones
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What is FEMA?
Federal Emergency Management Agency is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. For more information please check FEMA official website at https://faq.fema.gov

What is Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?
The area of Special flood Hazard Area is the land in the flood plain within a community subject to a 1% (one percent) or greater chance of flooding in any given year.
The Special Flood hazard Areas (SFHA) are mapped as a Zones A, A99, AE, AO, AH, AR, etc. In coastal areas Zone V is also a part of the SFHA. The SFHA may not encompass all of the community’s flood problem areas. 

What is 100 Year Flood?
The 1% annual chance flood (aka 100-year flood), also known as the base flood, is the flood that has a 1% (one percent) chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is the water surface elevation of the 1% annual chance flood.

What is Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)?
The FIRMs are the official map of a community on which Administrator has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community. 

Why are FIRMs important?

  • All buildings constructed after publication of the (FIRM), located in areas designated as Flood Hazard Area, may require flood insurance.
  • FIRMs show the limits of mapped flood hazard areas in a community.
  • The insurance zone designations shown on FIRMs are used in determination of flood insurance rates and premiums.
  • The 100-year flood elevation and flood depths shown on FIRM are the minimum regulatory elevations on which community flood plain management ordinances are based on.
  •  The information shown on FIRMs can affect the design and construction of new buildings, the improvement and repair of existing buildings, and additions to the existing buildings.


What are Special Flood Hazard Area Zones?

Area of Special Flood Hazard include Zones A, AE, AO, AR, A99 AND V.

  • (Zone V) Coastal flood zone with velocity hazard (wave action); no base flood elevations determined. These are those areas closest to the shoreline and subject to wave action, high-velocity flow, and erosion during the 100-year flood.
  • (Zone VE ) Coastal flood zone with velocity hazard (wave action); base flood elevations (BFE) is determined.
  • (Zone A) are areas subject to flooding during the 100-year flood, but base flood elevations (BFE) is not determined.
  • (Zone AH) areas with flood depth 1 to 3 feet (usually areas of ponding); base flood elevation (BFE) is not determined.
  • (Zone AO) areas with flood depth 1 to 3 feet (usually sheet flow on sloping terrain); average depths determined. For areas of alluvial fan flooding, velocity also determined.
  • (Zone AR) areas of special flood hazard formerly protected from the 1% annual chance flood event by a flood control system that was subsequently decertified. Zone AR indicates that the former flood control system is being restored to provide protection from 15 annual chance or grater flood event.
  • (Zone A99) Area to be protected from 1% annual chance flood event by Federal flood protection system under construction; no base flood elevation (BFS) determined.
  • (Floodway areas in Zone AE) The floodway is the channel of a stream plus any adjacent floodplain areas that must be kept free of encroachment so that the 1% annual chance flood can be carried without substantial increases in flood depth.

Other flood areas:

  • (Zone X Shaded ) Areas of 0.2% annual chance flood; areas of 1% annual chance flood with average depth of less than 1 foot or with drainage area less than 1 square miles; and protected by levees from 1% annual chance flood. Federal Insurance Rating Maps (FIRMs) shows these areas in darker shade and labeled Zone-X.

Other area:

  • (Zone X) Areas to be outside of 0.2% annual chance flood. In the FIRMs these areas are labeled as Zone-X but are not shown as shaded.
  • (Zone D) Areas in which flood hazards are undetermined, but possible.


How can I find out what Flood Zone is my property?

To get the flood zone for your property you may:

Vontact City of Oceanside Engineering Division at (760) 435-5099 or send e-mail to  engineeringstaff@ci.oceanside.ca.us.

Log in to FEMA Map Services website, http://msc.fema.gov . Choose Map Search. Enter the information for your property (address, city, state and zip code) and click go . Map search result will list the FIRM map that covers the property location. Click on the search icon to view the map. You may have to zoom in to locate your property.