Flooding is becoming more frequent and severe because of rising seas and increasingly intense rain events. Extreme precipitation and coastal storms can cause severe flooding that may threaten lives and property. Sea level rise can also cause recurrent flooding during high tides, or nuisance flooding, in low-lying coastal areas. In addition, rising sea levels can compromise stormwater management systems and lead to increased flooding from precipitation.

    Understanding Flood Risk

    Several online tools are available to help understand the risk of flooding.

    • NOAA’s Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper shows areas that may be impacted by several coastal flooding hazards, including sea level rise, storm surge, and high tide flooding.
    • FEMA’s flood insurance rate maps show the area expected to be inundated by a 1% annual chance flood (also known as the 100-year floodplain). These maps indicate where mortgage lenders require buyers to carry flood insurance, but keep in mind that they are only based on past flood events and do not account for the effects of climate change. Flood insurance rate maps are available for Maryland at mdfloodmaps.net

    Video tutorial on using mdfloodmaps.net to access flood insurance rate maps for Maryland.

    Dealing with Flooding

    Some chronic flooding issues can be addressed by large-scale projects to elevate roads and buildings, improve stormwater management systems, stabilize shorelines, or enhance wetland habitats. Not all flooding problems can be solved quickly or easily, and in some cases it may be necessary, to an extent, to live with the water. However, there are actions you can take as an individual to prepare for flooding and help protect your home and assets. For example, residents can:

    • Reduce impervious surfaces, such as concrete and asphalt, and install rain gardens or rain barrels to reduce stormwater runoff
    • Elevate utilities, such as heat pumps or air conditioning condensers, to prevent flood damage
    • Use native, flood-tolerant plants to stabilize shorelines
    • Purchase a flood insurance policy
    • Coordinate with neighbors and raise concerns with local government staff and officials

    Webinar Recordings

    • Presentation image consisting of 4 photos showing the causes of coastal flooding: Tides, Rainfall, Storm Surge, and Sea Level Rise

      Coastal Flooding Causes and Consequences

      Learn about sources of coastal flooding and tools for understanding your local flood risk today and in the future.

    • Image of a rural road with a yellow marker next to the roadside ditch. The marker has one and two foot marks on it to show the level of water when it floods.

      Living with the Water: Strategies for Reducing Flood Impacts

      Learn about actions you can take to protect your property, prepare your household, and make your community more resilient.