Flood Hazards

  • How Low Is the Property?

    Most low elevation beaches along Puget Sound are the products of waves, storms, and currents. Be cautious about buying property on river deltas, points, spits, barrier beaches, pocket beaches, tombolos, and berms with a low backshore. Flooding can be a problem in these areas.

  • Is the Site Behind a Beach Berm or On Top?

    Generally homes set behind a beach berm are relatively protected, unless extreme high tides and storm waves break through the berm. Once the berm barrier has been broken, further flooding can occur. A greater hazard exists for structures on top of the berm -- they can be hit by powerful storm waves, and beach debris.

  • Check with Your Local Planning/Zoning Office.

    Find out if the site is in a flood zone. Ask about frequency and depth of flooding. Consider the costs of construction on pilings and flood insurance.

    Signs Of Flooding

    Look for logs and scattered woody debris far inland. Storms and tides may have tossed them there - and will probably do so again. Wave tossed logs and wave erosion can severely damage property.

    Visit the site during a storm. Notice where water flows and areas of standing water. Consider how development might affect that flow. Think about on-site septic systems locations. Make the sale contingent upon passing a percolation test.

  • Related Links

    Flood Topics, King County. Links to flood plain maps, flood buyout and home elevation program, and hydrologic information center.

    Floods, Washington State Department of Health. What to do if your home is flooded; important health tips.

    National Flood Insurance Program, Federal Emergency Management Agency. Flood insurance information for consumers, news and updates, and flood insurance library.  

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