Friday, April 19, 2024

FEMA data from the National Flood Insurance Program is now available here

Coastal flooding in the Riverview section of Norfolk in September 2017 (Southside Daily photo)
Coastal flooding in the Riverview section of Norfolk in September 2017 (Southside Daily photo)

NORFOLK — An announcement made by FEMA last June stated the agency was going to publicly release 50 million records from the National Flood Insurance Program.

Data specific to the city from that release is now available in NorfolkOpenData, representing flooding insurance claims back to 1977 totaling $67 million in damages, city officials said.

The city’s planning office extracted more than 6,000 records specific to Norfolk from the FEMA NFIP dataset of more than 2 million records nationwide.

The data does not contain information on specific properties and cannot be used to trace a flooding claim to a particular address, officials pointed out.

Information on individual policy holders is protected under federal law.

However, the data shows the number of claims per year, as well as the total amount of those claims.

For example, FEMA paid $23.8 million in 2009 to Norfolk property owners who held policies through NFIP following the Nor’Easter Nor’Ida.

Spikes can be correlated to major flooding events, such as Hurricanes Bonnie and Floyd (1998-1999), Hurricane Isabel (2003) Hurricane Irene (2011) and Hurricane Matthew (2016).

The claims data can also be mapped by census tract to provide a picture of where and when flood claims have occurred in Norfolk.

The data also provides important information about the type of flooding that caused the claim, such as flooding only in the basement or first floor of a structure, and the type of structure that experienced flooding, such as a residence or a commercial building, officials said.

The June release marked the largest, most comprehensive release of NFIP data coordinated by FEMA to date and represents FEMA’s commitment to providing information people need to make better choices about their flood risk and the insurance they need to protect the life they’ve built, officials said.

Those interested in exploring the city’s data portal should check out the city’s data story Where Is the Data in Your Neighborhood.

There, residents will find interactive maps, video, pictures and links to help them find all kinds of information about where they live, from their street to their civic league to their ward.

The dataset joins data on public safety, neighborhoods, code enforcement, economic development and parks and recreation on NorfolkOpenData, officials added.

Questions about NorfolkOpenData should be sent by calling 757-664-4007 or via email at

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