Shore up on flooding facts as hurricane season arrives

Calculate estimated flooding costs with the free app for Hampton Roads residents

​The 2024 hurricane season could be one for the books.  Researchers at Colorado State University have forecast 23 named storms, 11 hurricanes and five major  hurricanes—numbers that could make this year the third most active hurricane season on record.  Protecting property and homes by purchasing flood insurance could be a lifesaver for Hampton Roads  residents, according to Ben McFarlane, Chief Resilience Officer with the Hampton Roads Planning  District Commission (HRPDC). And he has just the resource residents can use to estimate the coverage  they may need – a free calculator at

The Flood Insurance Estimator gives users an assessment of insuring their  home and belongings from flooding, based on answers to a few questions. The HRPDC refreshed the  online tool last year to align with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) update of the  National Flood Insurance Program’s risk-rating methodology, Risk Rating 2.0.

“Standard homeowners’ insurance does not cover flooding,” said McFarlane. “And while the  forecast of potential ‘big weather’ events is concerning, it does not even have to be raining in Hampton  Roads for flooding to occur. It can occur due to high tides and the direction of the wind, which can easily  devastate homes and businesses in the rising water’s path.”

With the updated Flood Insurance Estimator, Hampton Roads residents can obtain a more  targeted and unique cost estimate, considering their home’s distance to local waterways, ground  elevation, first-floor height and foundation type.

“We see the calculator as a reliable, local resource for obtaining a quick estimate before meeting  with an insurance agent,” McFarlane said.

McFarlane also wants residents to know that the uninsured cannot rely on federal disaster  assistance after a flooding event. Relief is only available following a presidential disaster declaration,  typically in the form of low-interest loans that must be repaid.

“The damage of just one inch of water in your home can cost more than $25,000 in repairs,”  McFarlane said. “You could hope flooding will not impact you. Or you can protect yourself from  devastating loss by signing up for flood insurance.”

Go-to resources to stay informed

The official hurricane season for the Atlantic basin is from June 1 to Nov. 30. Yet tropical cyclone  activity may occur before and after these dates, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric  Administration (NOAA).

In addition to hosting the Flood Insurance Estimator, has a wealth of  information to help residents and business owners understand the impacts of local flooding and learn  how they can prepare for threatening weather:

  • Know your zone. Look up your evacuation zone, which differs from your flood hazard zone. This  will help you if government officials order an evacuation.
  • Store important items at higher elevations, such as small valuables and vital documents.
  • Do not walk or drive in flood waters. Many deaths occur when cars or people are swept  downstream in a flooded roadway. Whether on foot or in the car, the best advice is to “turn  around, don’t drown.”
  • Stay informed. Tune in to local news and stay up to date on the latest weather conditions. For more tips and information about flooding and hurricane preparedness specific to the  Hampton Roads region, visit

Visual assets for media use are available at this link.


About – An initiative of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, was developed by an advisory group comprised of municipal planners and emergency management staff representing all 17 local jurisdictions in Hampton Roads. Their goal is to make residents aware of the facts associated with flooding in the region and encourage them to act responsibly by making sure their homes and businesses are covered by flood insurance.

Get the simple, indisputable facts about the growing chances for flooding, why you need flood insurance, and what your rate might be with our Flood Insurance Estimator.