What are the different Flood Zones and Risks?
In Savannah there are six zones: A, AE, AH, VE, X, and X_500.
Most of the City is in the X and X_500. The X zone, “Low Risk”, is considered above the 100 and 500 year floodplains. The lightly shaded X or X_500, “Moderate Risk”, is above or protected from the 100 year floodplain, but may have up to a foot of water in a 500 year storm event.

The A, AH and AE Zones are the flood zones which are common in Savannah. These areas are in the “High Risk” area and are prone to flood with rising water in both the 100 year and the 500 year storms. Structures have a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. An unnumbered “A” zone means that no Base Flood Elevation (BFE) above Sea Level has yet been determined. “AE” means a base flood elevation has been determined. For example, “AE-15" means that the lowest finished floor elevation of the structure must be at or above 15 NAVD 1988 because that is where the predicted flood water will rise. Zone AH indicated shallow flooding, usually in the form of a pond, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. All new construction must be constructed above the designed base flood elevation (DBFE). Also, in this zone the “50% rule” applies.

The VE Zones are the most dangerous flood zones. VE zones are in the “High Risk” area and will experience rising waters, severe winds and wave action greater than three feet. Homes in this area are on the south side of Savannah along the Forest and Vernon Rivers. To protect against wave scouring and frontal velocity, structures must be elevated so that the lowest horizontal structural member (floor joist) is above the designed base flood elevation (DBFE). Such construction usually means placing the structure on piles (pilings), and these pilings must also be anchored to resist flotation, collapse and lateral movement due to the combination effects of wind and water loading forces of the 100 year storm. A registered professional engineer or architect must develop, review and certify the structural design, specifications and plans. The 50% Rule also applies here too.

The Coastal A Zone: is a term that is used to draw a distinction between coastal V zones and inland A Zones, and to highlight similarities between V Zones and A Zones in coastal areas. A building in this area is subject to breaking wave heights between 2.9 feet and 1.5 feet. Building damage in Coastal A Zones is consistent with those observed in V Zones, not riverine A Zones. The City has not mapped the Coastal A zone at this time.

Show All Answers

1. What else can I do to prevent my house from flooding?
2. What is the difference between a Flood watch and Flood warning?
3. How do ponds prevent flooding?
4. What is the difference between a Retention Pond and a Detention Pond?
5. What is compensatory Storage?
6. Why can’t hydrostatic vents be used in the VE zone?
7. What are some of the main construction tips for the different zones?
8. How can I remove my property from the Floodplain?
9. What are benchmark, datum, and datum types?
10. I live in a low-risk flood zone. Do I really need flood insurance?
11. What is the Substantial Damage | Substantial Improved (SD/SI) aka “50% Rule” and Pre FIRM?
12. What is the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS)?
13. What are the different Flood Zones and Risks?
14. What is a Freeboard?
15. What is the difference between Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and Design Base Flood Elevation (DBFE)?
16. What is a 100 year or 500 year storm event?
17. What is the Community Rating System (CRS)?
18. What is Increase Cost of Compliance (ICC)?
19. What is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?
20. What is the difference between the “Floodplain” and the “Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)”?
21. What is the City of Savannah’s Community Number?
22. Do marshes and other vegetation prevent flooding?
23. What is the Preferred Risk Policy (PRP)?
24. Is flood damage from wind-driven rain covered?
25. Can “north-eastern” winds affect flooding?
26. If I live in a flood zone but my finish floor is above the BFE, do I still need flood insurance?
27. Can I get flood insurance if I do not live in a High Risk Area?
28. Can I get flood insurance if I'm renting a property?
29. What types of property may be insured against flood loss?
30. Does my policy go into effect once a payment is made?
31. What is Flood Insurance?
32. What causes flooding in Savannah?
34. What is the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) used for?
35. Where can I get More Information?
36. How do I know if I am at risk of flooding?
37. What kinds of property are not insurable under the NFIP?
38. What are FIRM Panels and how many are there?
39. What is the purpose of an Elevation Certificate?