Flood Protection

Flood Types

Hurricane Matthew Rainfall Flooding

Flooding typically occurs in our area when large amounts of rain falls over a short period of time from a single, heavy storm, tropical system, or hurricane. After these storms, we rely on a man-made flood control system to drain excess water from the low, flat lands. Existing surface waters levels (i.e. ocean or sound), impact the ability of the connecting drainage systems to receive or store new rainfall. If the surface water conditions are elevated, this impacts the drainage system's ability to transport additional water. If the underground water table is high, water cannot soak into the already saturated ground. We have observed these conditions occurring simultaneously, which has led to rainfall in streets, swales, yards and low-lying areas.

A majority of the existing development in Nags Head is concentrated in the lower-lying areas close to sea level. This is different from inland areas where watersheds have a natural fall line that directs run-off into creeks, streams, and rivers, which then carry excess water downstream. In our area, run-off will collect and stand wherever the ground is saturated, where run-off cannot access natural or man-made drainages, or along impervious surfaces such as roadways and parking lots where absorption is restricted.

Emergency Floodwater Dewatering Plan

Under emergency flood conditions, when public health and safety are endangered, approval may be issued by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) to allow the direct pumping of floodwaters to the Atlantic Ocean or Roanoke Sound. A comprehensive emergency floodwater dewatering plan has been developed by the Town and filed with NCDEQ Division of Water Resources (DWR) in order to expedite emergency approval. The emergency plan outlines the criteria by which the plan may implemented as authorized by NCDEQ-DWR.

  1. Coastal Flooding
  2. Surface Water Flooding
  3. Groundwater Flooding

Coastal flooding is caused by high tides coinciding with hurricanes, tropical storms, nor’easters or other low-pressure storm systems which raise sea and tidal water levels, overwhelming coastal defenses. This may be made worse by gale force winds blowing the raised body of water onto the coast. Flooding may be in the form of overwash, where floodwaters erode and overtop coastal dunes or estuarine shorelines. Coastal flooding may affect not only property along oceanfront and estuarine shorelines, but also property inland from the coastline, due to floodwater being forced up connecting ditches, canals and outfalls by raised sea levels. Land areas that are at high risk for coastal flooding are defined by Special Flood Hazard Areas or flood zones.

Flood Protection

Know Your Risk
To reduce your flood risk, you need to know your level of risk. The greatest flood threats for Nags Head properties come from hurricanes, winter storms, and seasonal high tides.

Is My Property in a Flood Zone
In Nags Head there are two Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) - the AE flood zone and the VE flood zone. Both flood zones are located in the 100 year flood plain. This means that in any given year, these areas have a 1% chance of flooding.

Protect Your Home From Flooding
There are many ways flood protection measures can eliminate or reduce the risk of future flood damage.

Build Responsibility - Get Your Permit
The Department of Planning and Development works to effectively plan and manage for the growth and development in Nags Head through sound urban planning and development practices.

Insure Your Property
Did you know that a standard homeowner’s policy does not cover flood losses? Property owners need to consult their local insurance agent or broker for details and qualification requirements, coverages, and cost.

Protect Natural Functions of Floodplains and SFHAs
Floodplains or SFHAs make up 65% of the Town’s total acreage. In addition, 78% of structures in the Town are located in a floodplain. Find out what you can do to help protect these areas.