Flood Information

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Learn the facts about flooding.

Local Flood Hazard
The City of Greensboro has several streams that are subject to flooding
during and after heavy rainstorms.
To learn more, view the City's Flood Risk Map.

Flood Protection Information

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a Federal program, established by Congress in 1968, that allows property owners to purchase federally-backed flood insurance within communities that participate in the program. In return for this insurance protection, participating communities implement floodplain measures to reduce flood risks to new development. Through this program, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and participating communities are able to reduce future flood losses.

Under the NFIP, FEMA is required to develop flood risk data for use in both insurance rating and floodplain management. FEMA develops this data through Flood Insurance Studies (FIS). Using the results of these studies, FEMA prepares Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) that depict the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) within the study’s community. SFHAs are areas subject to inundation by a flood having a 1 percent or greater probability of being equaled or exceeded during any given year. This flood, which is commonly referred to as the 100-year flood (or base flood), is the national standard on which the floodplain management and insurance requirements of the NFIP are based.

In addition to SFHAs, the City's FIRMs show future conditions in SFHAs based on future conditions hydrology. Future conditions hydrology is based on projected land use conditions without consideration of projected future construction of flood detention structures or projected future hydraulic modifications within a waterway. Future conditions flood discharges are published in the FIS and these areas are regulated the same as SFHAs.

Future conditions in SFHAs are also used by the City as floodplain management and regulating tools. FIRMs may also show areas designated as a regulatory floodway. The regulatory floodway is the channel of a stream plus any adjacent floodplain areas that must be kept free of encroachment so the base flood discharge can be conveyed without increasing the base flood elevation (BFE) more than a specified amount. Within the SFHAs delineated by approximate analysis, FIRMs show only the flood insurance zone designation. Non-encroachment areas (which are similar to a regulatory floodway) for these features have been established and can be found in a community's FIS.

FIRMs provide information that allow map users to:

  • Identify Special Flood Hazard Areas or Future Conditions Special Flood Hazard Areas subject to flooding
  • Find the location of a specific property in question
  • Estimate the BFE at a specific site
  • Determine the flood insurance zone at a specific location
  • Determine the location of the regulatory floodway (where shown).

Quick reference on Greensboro’s FIRM Panel Dates

FEMA's FIRMs are used to administer the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP); however, they do not necessarily identify all areas subject to flooding particularly from local drainage sources of small size. The NFIP makes federally-backed flood insurance on both a structure and its contents available for all buildings within a participating community, regardless of whether the buildings are in a regulated floodplain or not. Flood insurance covers direct losses caused by surface flooding, including a river flowing over its banks, a lake or ocean storm, and local drainage problems.

FEMA publishes FIRMs and distributes them to a wide range of users. Residents, community officials, insurance agents and brokers, lending institutions, and federal agencies use FIRMs to determine the degree of flood hazard in specific areas of the community so actuarial premium rates can be assigned and full insurance coverage obtained for properties at risk.

North Carolina, through FEMA's Cooperating Technical Community partnership initiative, has been designated as the first Cooperating Technical State (CTS). As a CTS, the state has assumed primary ownership and responsibility of FIRMs for all North Carolina communities as part of the NFIP. This project includes conducting flood hazard analyses and producing updated, digital FIRMs (DFIRMs). For more information on this project or to download an effective FIRM, visit the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program.

Prior to beginning any development activities within a SFHA and future conditions flood hazard area within the City of Greensboro, a Floodplain Development Permit Application must be submitted and a floodplain development permit must be obtained from the City's Water Resources Department Stormwater Division. Required information relating to development activities shall include, but not be limited to the:

  • Nature, location, dimensions, elevations of the area in question
  • Existing or proposed structures, fill, storage of materials, drainage facilities, and location of the foregoing.

Download the floodplain development permit application. For additional information about the process for requesting a floodplain development permit, contact the Stormwater Division at 336-373-2055.


  • BFE: Base Flood Elevation
  • FEMA: Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • FIRMs: Flood Insurance Rate Maps
  • FIS: Flood Insurance Study
  • NFIP: National Flood Insurance Program
  • SFHA: Special Flood Hazard Area
  • NEA: Non-encroachment Area