PO BOX 246 MANTEO, NC, 27954   PHONE: (252) 473-2133

Flood Hazards

Floods in Manteo are typically the result of wind driven tides or from ponding stormwater. Wind driven tides are normally associated with coastal low pressure systems that cause the sound water to back up through the town’s stormwater system. The town is also prone to flooding as a result of heavy rainfall. This can be from unnamed rain events or from hurricanes like Isabelle, Floyd, Dennis and Fran.

Flooding most often occurs on the streets immediately adjacent to the waterfront. This can affect both parking lots and streets, as well as any low lying properties. These flood prone areas are known as local hazard areas.

FEMA recognizes different Flood Zone Determinations. The Town of Manteo has three different zones. They are defined below.

X Zone Area of moderate flood hazard, usually the area between the limits of the 100-year and 500-year floods.

AE Zone The base floodplain where base flood elevations are provided.

VE Zone Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.

Information on your properties flood zone and copies of elevation certificates, where available, may be obtained at the Town Hall at 407 Budleigh Street or by calling 252-473-2133.

Flood Safety

The key to remaining safe and protecting your property is to understand the risk associated with floods and to have a plan for what you will do if a flood threatens your home. Please see the links below to learn more about floods and how you can protect yourself.

Flood Warning System

Public Information on flood events is available through a variety of media produced by Dare County Emergency Management. The most common warning system is the NOAA Weather Radio. Dare County also utilizes local radio stations including 105.7. Local Government Access Channel 20 is also used to disseminate emergency warnings as well as through the Dare County Emergency Management Website: http://www.darenc.com/EmgyMgmt/index.htm

Flood Terms

Flood Events are publicized with a variety of names depending upon the length of time until an event may occur and the severity of an event. The Nation Weather Service uses the following terms:

Flood Watch:
Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Flash Flood Watch:
Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Flood Warning:
Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Flash Flood Warning:
A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

Before a Flood

To prepare for a flood, you should:

    * Avoid building in a floodprone area unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
    * Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
    * Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
    * Contact community officials to find out if they are planning to construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the homes in your area.
    * Remember there are no Red Cross Shelters in Dare County
    * Be aware of evacuation routes. See Map above.

During a Flood

If a flood is likely in your area, you should:

    * Listen to the radio or television for information.
    * Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.

If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:

    * Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
    * Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:

    * Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
    * Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.

After a Flood

The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:

    * Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
    * Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
    * Avoid moving water.
    * Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
    * Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
    * Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
    * Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
    * Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
    * Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.

Driving Flood Facts

The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:

    * Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
    * A foot of water will float many vehicles.
    * Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-ups.

Flood Insurance

Property insurance does not cover your home and belongings from damage caused by floods. A separate Flood Insurance policy must be purchased to cover flood related damage. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) serves the Town of Manteo and a discount is available to property owners seeking flood insurance. It is important to keep in mind that before your policy is effective; there is a 30 day waiting period after you purchase your policy.
For more information on the NFIP please see the following link:


Property Protection Measures

In addition to flood insurance you can also take some protective measures to prevent floods from damaging you property and belongings. FEMA recommends six ways to protect your house from flooding.

Elevation is raising your house so that the lowest floor is above the flood level. This is the most common way to avoid flood damage.

Wet floodproofing makes uninhabited parts of your house resistant to flood damage when water is allowed to enter during flooding.

Relocation means moving your house to higher ground where the exposure to flooding is eliminated altogether.

Dry floodproofing is sealing your house to prevent flood waters from entering.

Levee and floodwall protection means constructing barriers to prevent flood waters from entering your house.

Demolition means razing your house and rebuilding properly on the same property or buying a house elsewhere.

For More information on protective measures, FEMA has a free publication, "Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding," Click here for a pdf version  A hard copy is also available from the FEMA distribution center. Call 1-800-480-2520 and ask for FEMA publication #312.

Also, remember to contact the building inspector or flood plan administrator before beginning any retrofitting projects. Local officials know the retrofitting methods that meet state and local government requirements. Local officials can also help guide you to possible financial assistance for retrofitting projects. Financial assistance means loans, grants, and insurance payments. For example, under FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program, a policy holder may qualify for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage. If your house is substantially damaged by flooding, ICC coverage may help pay for some types of retrofitting.

Hurricanes Cause More than Just Floods

In addition to flood damage, hurricanes also produce wind damage. To protect you property from wind damage FEMA suggests you consider the following measures:

    * Maintain EIFS Walls
    * Protect Windows and Doors with Covers
    * Reinforce Double Entry Doors
    * Reinforce or Replace Garage Doors
    * Remove Trees and Potential Windborne Missiles
    * Secure Metal Siding and Metal Roofs
    * Secure Built-Up and Single-Ply Roofs
    * Secure Composition Shingle Roofs
    * Brace Gable End Roof Framing

Substantial Improvement Requirements

The Town of Manteo’s Zoning Ordinance regulates improvements to structures within the flood plain.

In this ordinance substantial damage and substantial improvement are defined as:

Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a structure during any one-year period whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred. See definition of "substantial improvement". Substantial damage also means flood-related damage sustained by a structure on two separate occasions during a ten-year period for which the cost of repairs at the time of each such flood event, on the average, equals or exceeds 25 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

Substantial improvement means any combination of repairs, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, taking place during any one-year period for which the cost equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the "start of construction" of the improvement. This term includes structures which have incurred "substantial damage", regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either:

1.      Any correction of existing violations of state or community health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the community code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions; or,

2.      Any alteration of a historic structure provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as a historic structure.

Drainage System Maintenance

The Town of Manteo’s drainage system consists of a series pipes and ditches both publicly and privately owned. Most of the system was installed before the Town fully developed and as a result it can be easily overwhelmed during heavy rain events. The Town of Manteo conducts regular biannual maintenance on the system and responds to complaints on an on call basis. It is important to maintain these systems to allow for safe and controlled drainage of stormwater throughout the town.

Town of Manteo ordinances prohibit persons from filling up or in any way obstructing free passage of water through any public or private ditch, conduit or other channel that may be cut for purpose of drainage within the town limits; provided, that this section shall not apply to any individual filling in private channels on his own land, when not needed for drainage or for purpose of channeling drainage on his own premises. (§30-4)

The ordinance also states that it shall be unlawful for any person to deposit refuse of any kind in any street, sidewalk, public place, vacant lot, beach, marsh, stream or other body of water within the town. (§34-2)

To report a violation of the above ordinances please contact the Town Hall at 252-473-2133.
PO Box 246, Manteo, NC, 27954, (252) 473-2133