Preliminary FEMA Floodplain Mapping

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has recently completed a multi-year project re-examining Hanover County’s floodplain maps.  The new maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), have been released for public view.  Please be aware these maps are still preliminary and show an early look at your property’s projected flood risk.  If your property is affected by these changes, you will receive a letter from Hanover County in the coming months.  Otherwise, feel free to explore the mapping applications below for informational purposes.

Mapping Resources

  • Hanover has created a FEMA Floodzone Changes application which shows the preliminary (proposed) and existing 100-year floodplain.  The 100-year floodplain, also known as the 1-percent-annual chance flood hazard "Special Flood Hazard Area", includes both Zone A (100-year) and Zone AE (100-year with elevations).
  • Another resource is FEMA's Flood Map Changes Viewer which also lets you compare the current and proposed floodplain maps.  The online viewer also includes changes to the 500-yr floodplain "Non-Special Flood Hazard Area" (Zone X, also known as the 0.2-percent-annual chance flood hazard), which is for informational use only and not required for flood insurance purposes.

How will these changes affect you?

Please use this time to understand your property’s flood risk and research your flood insurance options.  While reviewing the preliminary maps, we encourage you to determine whether or not your property falls within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).  SFHA’s are subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual chance flood (Zone A & AE).  If you have a mortgage from a federally regulated lender and your property is in the SFHA, you are required by Federal law to carry flood insurance when these flood maps are put into effect.  

We recommend all owners in a SFHA obtain flood insurance.  We recommend that you use this time to contact your insurance agent and learn about options offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  An additional resource for property owners, both with and without a mortgage, is, which provides information about the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP) and the costs of flood insurance.

What is the map update timeline?

In the coming months, FEMA and its partners will hold a meeting with Hanover County officials to discuss the preliminary maps.  After that meeting, a 90 day appeal period will begin.  During this period, the community has the opportunity to submit appeals, supported by engineering data, related to discrepancies in the flood hazard data that they noticed in the preliminary flood maps.  

The appeal timeline will be updated on this webpage once the dates are known.

After the appeal period has passed, FEMA and its partners will finalize the maps. FEMA will notify the community that the maps should be considered final through a Letter of Final Determination (LFD).  The community then has six (6) months from the LFD date until the preliminary flood maps are considered final, which will be used to determine flood insurance rates and building and development regulations.

Why are these maps important?

These flood hazard maps are important tools for protecting lives and property.  Flood maps help property owners make informed decisions about personal safety and financial protection.  These maps also allow community planners, local officials, engineers, builders, and others to make determinations about where and how new structures and developments should be built.

Any development in a floodplain is subject to the requirements of FEMA and  Hanover County Ordinance Chapter 12 Section 17.  You may also visit the Hanover County Floodplain webpage for additional information.

If you have questions about the flood map updates, you can contact the Hanover County Department of Public Works by phone, 804-365-6181, or email, [email protected]. The FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) can be reached, toll free, at 1-877-FEMA-MAP, by email: [email protected], or by mail at: FEMA National Flood Insurance Program; 500 C St SW; Washington, D.C. 20472