Flood Zones

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Flood Zone Information


Mathews County (The Pearl of the Chesapeake) is a coastal community on the Chesapeake Bay in southeastern Virginia. Being a coastal community, Mathews County is vulnerable to flooding and coastal storms (including nor’easters and hurricanes).


General Facts & Info

Flood or flooding is a temporary inundation of normally dry land.

Approximately 30% of Mathews County lies within a flood zone.

A flood zone is designated as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) by FEMA, and has a 1% chance of flooding annually.

The SFHA’s or flood zones are shown on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

The current FIRM’s (flood maps) for Mathews County have an effective date of 12-09-2014 and are based on the 1988 NAVD.

The following flood zones are located within Mathews County: A; AE; Coastal A & VE


Flood Zone Descriptions


 Un shaded X

 Area of minimal flood hazard

 Shaded X

 Area with 0.2% chance of flooding annually


 1% chance of flooding annually (no BFE)


 1% chance of flooding annually with BFE

 Coastal A

 1% chance of flooding annually with BFE and wave heights of 1 ½ -3 feet  (also referred to as LiMWA zone)


 1% chance of flooding annually with BFE and wave heights greater than  3 feet (high velocity wave action)

BFE = base flood elevation

A, AE, Coastal A & VE zones are Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) and commonly referred to as the 100 year flood zone.

BFE (base flood elevation) is the anticipated or estimated height of a flood; flood water surface elevation relative to mean sea level.


Mathews County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

This is a quid pro quo program.

The NFIP agrees to provide:

  • Flood insurance at the most reasonable rates possible
  • Disaster assistance
  • Funding for Hazard Mitigation Projects

In return, Mathews County must have and enforce a Floodplain Management Ordinance. The Ordinance must meet the minimum NFIP requirements, be legally enforceable and be applied equally throughout the community.


Floodplain Management

The purpose of a Floodplain Management Ordinance is to protect the health, safety and welfare of general public (and their property) by regulating development in flood zones.

The goal of floodplain management is to reduce the risk and loss of life and property while preserving the natural functions of floodplains.

Proper floodplain management activities will result in safer, stronger and more resilient communities.

Flooding is a natural cycle that has benefits for the environment; one goal of floodplain management is to help preserve these functions.

What do floodplains do?

  • Naturally store and convey flood waters
  • Maintain water quality (filter)
  • Recharge ground water aquifers
  • Support large and diverse populations of plants & animals
  • Provide recreational & economic benefits to communities

How are flood plains managed?

  • Local, state and federal regulations
  • Floodplain Management Ordinance
  • Zoning Ordinances
  • Building Codes


Useful Links:

 Use the following links to see if your property is in a Flood Zone

Other useful links


Useful Guides & Documents

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