Project Overview



Map showing the communities affected by the coastal flood study.  These include New York City and the following New Jersey counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May,Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Salem and Union.
   Map of Project Area
  (Click to Enlarge)

FEMA is committed to providing accurate flood hazard information and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to help communities and their residents plan for and reduce the risk from flooding. The FEMA Region II office has initiated a coastal flood study to produce updated FIRMs for 14 coastal New Jersey counties and New York City. The FIRM is a requirement for communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and shows the flood hazards that affect each community, from both coastal and inland flooding sources.  The FIRM is used to determine flood insurance requirements for residents and where floodplain development regulations apply.

The new coastal flood study includes an updated coastal storm surge analysis and overland wave modeling. Storm surge is the water, combined with normal tides, that is pushed toward the shore by strong winds during a storm.  This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, especially when a storm occurs at the same time as the normal high tides. The height of the storm surge is affected by many factors, including the intensity, path and speed of the storm, the presence of waves, the depth of water offshore, and the shape of the shoreline. Overland wave modeling is needed to fully evaluate the effects that waves have on coastal areas during a flood event, and will take into account factors such as water depth, wind speed, vegetative cover, and building density. Then, when the analysis is complete, new, detailed topographic information will be used to map the coastal flood hazards.  
To learn more about coastal flood analysis and mapping techniques used to create the FIRM, visit the Coastal Analysis and Mapping Basics page. 

Why is the new coastal flood study necessary? 
Waves breaking along the New Jersey shoreline
Breaking waves along the
New Jersey shoreline

Flood risk can change over time. Natural changes in stream channels, beach erosion, and man-made changes, such as development and the construction of bridges or sea walls, may decrease or increase the likelihood of flooding in a particular area. Many of the effective FIRMs in the study area were developed in the late 1970s and the 1980s – there have been advancements in the methodologies, technologies, and information available to evaluate and map flood hazards since that time. In addition, the New York/New Jersey coast is one of the most highly populated and developed coastlines in the nation, with a large amount of development occurring since the area was last mapped.

FEMA has initiated this restudy of coastal flood hazards along the New York and New Jersey coast to better characterize the current flood risk. This new study will use the most current and accepted techniques for modeling and mapping coastal storm surge and flood hazards, and when completed, will be the most comprehensive analysis of coastal flood hazards in the area to date.  

Keeping safe from coastal flood hazards

A flooded street in New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene
A flooded New Jersey street in the 
aftermath of Hurricane Irene
Did you know that flooding is the nation's most common natural disaster?  More precise flood hazard information and maps help communities make more informed decisions about ways to reduce the risk from flooding. While the updated coastal flood study is not yet complete, there are steps that communities and residents can take now to reduce flood risk and keep communities, families, neighbors, and property safe:

Know your risk – Understand the risk of flooding in your area. View your community’s current flood hazard maps and check back to this website for updates on the project underway. 
Know your role – Understand the role you play when disaster strikes and how you can reduce the impact flooding has on you, your loved ones, and your property. Visit (or Ready New York for New York residents) to learn about ways to get prepared, and for more information on flood risk and flood insurance. 

Take action today –Visit (or Ready New York for New York residents) to learn how to get prepared. Then, tell others about your community’s flood risk and what steps they can take to keep safe from flooding. 


The coastal flood study is currently underway, with preliminary FIRMs expected to be issued to communities beginning in the summer of 2013.  More detailed information, including dates of local public meetings to discuss the coastal flood study will be posted to the Project Calendar as the project progresses.  

Participants in a FEMA-held public meeting in New Jersey 
Community and public involvement

Once the results of the coastal flood study are completed and mapped, preliminary FIRMs and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports for each affected community will be distributed and available online through this website. Communities and residents will be provided with enough time to review and comment on the preliminary FIRMs before they are finalized.

Soon after the preliminary FIRMs are issued, FEMA will host community coordination meetings where FEMA and its project partners will explain the changes that have occurred on the preliminary FIRMs and the next steps in the mapping process. Community officials and the public will also have an opportunity to review and comment on the FIRMs at that time. 

After the community coordination meetings, FEMA will also provide a legally-required 90-day appeal period so that communities, or individual residents (through their community officials), can submit scientific or technical data challenging or ‘appealing’ the proposed flood hazard information shown on the preliminary FIRM. For additional information on FEMA's appeals process, visit FEMA’s Flood Hazard Determinations Homepage.

Additional information on upcoming community coordination meetings for your community will be posted to the Project Calendar once the meetings are scheduled. 

FEMA personnel at a computer workstation 

Contact us with your questions or comments!