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Flood Terminology Explained

Base Flood - Also referred to as the 100-year flood, it is a flood having a 1 percent probability of occurring in any given year.

BFE (Base Flood Elevation) - The elevation shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) that indicates the water surface elevation resulting from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year.

Basement - Any area of the building, including any sunken room or sunken portion of a room, having its floor below ground level (subgrade) on all sides.

Community - Under the NFIP, a community is a political entity that has authority to adopt and enforce floodplain ordinances for the area under its jurisdiction.

Elevation Certificate - The Elevation Certificate is a document used to provide elevation information necessary to determine the proper insurance premium rate, or to support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment or Letter of Map Revision.

eLOMA (electronic Letter of Map Amendment) - eLOMA is a web-based application within the Mapping Information Platform (MIP) that provides licensed land surveyors with a system to submit simple Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) requests to FEMA. This tool is designed to make a determination based on the information submitted by the Licensed Professional and allow them to generate a determination from FEMA in minutes.

Enclosure - That portion of an elevated building below the lowest elevated floor that is either partially or fully shut-in by rigid walls.

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) - The federal agency within the Department of Homeland Security that is tasked with responding to, planning for, recovering from, and mitigating against man-made and natural disasters.

FHBM (Flood Hazard Boundary Map) - Official map of a community issued by the Federal Insurance Administrator, where the boundaries of the flood, mudflow, and related erosion areas having special hazards have been designated.

FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) - Official map of a community on which the Mitigation Division Administrator has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.

Flood Insurance Study (FIS) - A book that contains information regarding flooding in a community and is developed in conjunction with the FIRM. The FIS, also known as a flood elevation study, frequently contains a narrative of the flood history of a community and discusses the engineering methods used to develop the FIRM. The study also contains flood profiles for studied flooding sources and can be used to determine Base Flood Elevations for some areas.

Flood - A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from the overflow of inland or tidal waters or from the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.

Floodplain - Any land area susceptible to being inundated by floodwaters from any source.

Floodplain Management - The operation of an overall program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing flood damage, including but not limited to, emergency preparedness plans, flood control works, and floodplain management regulations.

Flood Zone - A geographical area shown on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map or a Flood Insurance Rate Map that reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.

LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) - An amendment to the effective FEMA map, which establishes that a property is not located in a Special Flood Hazard Area. It is used when the natural topography at the time that the map was issued elevates the insurable improvements above the BFE. A LOMA is issued only by FEMA.

LOMR (Letter of Map Revision) - An amendment to the currently effective FEMA map which revises flood zones on the map after such activity as grading or filling raises the level of the ground above the BFE. A LOMR is issued only by FEMA.

Lowest Floor - The lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including a basement). An unfinished or flood-resistant enclosure, usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access, or storage in an area other than a basement area, is not considered a building's lowest floor provided that such enclosure is not built so as to render the structure in violation of requirements.

NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) - Federal program to identify flood prone areas nationwide and make flood insurance available to the owners and leasers of property in the communities that participate in the program.

NSFHA (Non-Special Flood Hazard Area) - An area in a low to moderate risk flood zone (Zones B, C, X) that is not in any immediate danger from flooding caused by overflowing rivers or hard rains. However, it's important to note that structures within a NSFHA are still at risk.

Participating Community - A community for which the Mitigation Division Administrator has authorized the sale of flood insurance under the NFIP.

SFHA (Special Flood Hazard Area) - A FEMA identified high-risk flood area where flood insurance is mandatory for properties. An area having special flood, mudflow, or flood-related erosion hazards, and shown on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map or a Flood Insurance Rate Map as Zone A, AO, A1-A30, AE, A99, AH, AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/AH, AR/AO, AR/A1-A30, V1-V30, VE, or V.

SFIP (Standard Flood Insurance Policy) - Policy issued to insure a building and/or its contents.

Zone - A geographical area shown on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map or a Flood Insurance Rate Map that reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.

Courtesy of FEMA - National Flood Insurance Program www.FloodSmart.gov