The Town of Emerald Isle wants all property owners to be aware of how they may be impacted by flooding and what they can do to protect themselves, their families and their property from flood damage. Detailed flood insurance maps showing special flood hazard areas are on file at the Town's Planning and Inspection Office located at 7500 Emerald Drive. The phone number for the office is 252-354-3338. If you have questions about your specific property, the office is staffed by personnel that are qualified to locate your property on the Town maps to determine the base flood elevation at that property, enabling them to give you an approximate lowest floor above mean sea level. All local lenders, insurance agents and real estate offices should be aware of this service.
Know Your Local Flood Hazard
Please visit the Town's Planning and Inspections Office to view the current Federal Insurance Rate Map. This map provides the approximate elevation information regarding flood-prone areas of Emerald Isle. The various elevations shown have an impact on flood insurance premiums. Please note that this map is general in nature and, in some instances, in order to determine the exact elevation of your individual property, it may be necessary to engage the services of an engineer or land surveyor. You may also access flood maps for all communities in the State of North Carolina by visiting Flood.NC.gov.
Emerald Isle Floodplain Map
Read the Why NC Communities Regulate the Floodplain (PDF) for more information.
Flash flooding in North Carolina occurs when a large amount of rain falls in an area over a short period of time. Hurricanes, tropical storms, and thunderstorms can produce flash flooding. Refer to this article for more information.
Insure Your Property
Your homeowner's insurance does NOT cover losses due to flooding. Emerald Isle has participated in the National Flood Insurance Program since 1977 and flood insurance is available for almost any enclosed building and its contents. Maximum insurance on a single-family dwelling is $250,000 and $100,000 on household contents. Non-residential and business properties are also eligible for insurance in varying amounts. Flood insurance is mandatory for all federal-related financial assistance for loans to purchase, construct, repair or improve any building in the Special Flood Hazard Areas and all lending agencies, real estate offices and title companies are aware of these Federal requirements. Reduced rates are available depending on your lowest floor elevation above mean sea level, plus a variety of deductible amounts. We urge you to inquire about flood insurance coverage from your insurance agent for further information regarding this most important part of your insurance coverage. Remember, the 30-day waiting period that must pass before flood policies become active.
Flood Insurance Rating
FEMA.gov provides important information regarding steps taken to acquire flood insurance and the necessity of its protection.
Local Insurance Agencies
Protection from Hazard
Emerald Isle does not have a specific flood warning system; however, in the Town's emergency operations plan, we do have an extensive evacuation plan which includes emergency fire and police vehicles making announcements over their public address systems. All advisories, evacuations or other important information is also broadcast by all local radio and television stations, including being placed on the Town's website. This plan is initiated through our Emergency Management Office in conjunction with the neighboring towns and the county's Emergency Management Office. Please view Carteret County's Emergency Operations Plan. The ORDER TO EVACUATE is given only when the best efforts of local and county Emergency Coordinators have evaluated the projections of storm headings and all other storm-related information. All persons with disabilities, invalids and those who cannot care for themselves should contact the EMS Department at 252-354-2249. This is kept in confidence; however, it is your responsibility to update or change this information. The local newspapers offer supplements with "what to do" details when a hurricane threatens. Pamlico Sound Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan (PDF).
The safety of your family is of the utmost importance. To be well informed about an approaching storm, keep a battery-powered radio turned to a local station and follow emergency instructions. If an evacuation is ordered, Emerald Isle has prepared an emergency evacuation plan to assure the smooth flow of traffic over the Cameron Langston Bridge through the intersection of Highways 58 and 24 in Cape Carteret. In the event of a storm advisory or warning, immediately bring outdoor furniture and other possessions inside or tie them down securely, be sure to have a full tank of gasoline and stock the car with nonperishable canned goods, a container of water, first aid kit and any special medication needed by the family. Do not walk through flowing water. Do not drive through flooded areas. Stay away from downed wires of any kind. If time permits, pull off the main power switch and shut off the main gas valve.
Since Emerald Isle has several Special Flood Hazard Zones, you should be aware that the question is not if you will have a flood, due to hurricane, but when. There are various techniques that can be used to floodproof existing structures and thereby reduce or eliminate the potential of future flood damage. This floodproofing process is known as "retrofitting". The Design Manual for Retrofitting Flood-Prone Structures (FEMA Publication Number 114.9/86) is available for review at the Emerald Isle Planning and Inspections Office at 7500 Emerald Drive. If you are contemplating new construction, you must contact the Planning and Inspections Department to determine what special land use and building regulations are in effect to comply with federal flood insurance standards. This information is available to anyone at no cost.
Refer to this brochure from Carteret County on Permanent Measures and Examples of Retrofitting (PDF).
Emergency Floodproofing Measures
NC Flood Insurance: Be Prepared for Flood Emergencies (PDF).
Review FEMA's Six Ways to Protect Your Home (PDF).
All new construction and most renovation projects are required to have local building permits, and depending on the type and location of the project, there may be various state permits required also. Always check with the local building inspector, a local engineer or land surveyor before purchasing a property in Emerald Isle to determine what regulations are in effect relating to the location in the Special Flood Hazard Zone. If you observe any new construction or substantial improvements to a building and a permit card is not visible, please notify the Emerald Isle Planning and Inspection Department at 252-354-3338. Building permit applications and flood development permit applications are available as follows:
- V Zone Flood Development Permit Application
- AE Zone Flood Development Permit Application
- Emerald Isle Floodplain Management Ordinance
Substantial Improvement Requirements
The National Flood Insurance Program requires that, if a building is damaged by any means (fire, wind, flood, etc.) and the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvements equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value; then the building must meet the same construction requirements as a new building. In summary, the building must:
- Be elevated above the base flood elevation, be adequately anchored to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement
- Be constructed with material resistant to flood damage; and
- Be constructed with all utilities designed so as to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components during flooding. It is mandatory to have all permit applications reviewed by the Planning and Inspections Office.
Drainage System Maintenance
The Emerald Isle Department of Public Works maintains the surface water drainage system by the regular cleaning of the catch basins and drop inlets within Town right-of-ways to avoid street flooding. If you observe a basin or inlet that does not appear to drain properly you should report the location to the Public Works Department at 252-354-4450.
To learn more about the importance of maintaining your drainage system, refer to the Carteret County Drainage System Maintenance (PDF).
Protect Natural Floodplain Functions
The Town's largest and most important natural function in our floodplain is the beach. The beach allows flood tides to spread over a large area to provide water storage and reduce wind and wave velocity impact. Another important location is Bogue Sound which serves as flood tide storage in addition to a wildlife and resource habitat. We must all be aware of the importance of these natural areas to help and preserve them.
Map of Emerald Isle's Natural Areas
For further information on floods and how you can protect yourself and your property please visit Ready.gov.