Coastal storms are the primary cause of flooding in Hull. Significant wave heights combined with high tides result in overtopping of coastal banks and dunes, as well as sea walls and revetments. Even mild to moderate northeast storms can cause property damage. In many areas flood claims may also result from poor drainage conditions that keep floodwaters from immediately receding.
Since the Blizzard of 1978 (click here for photos), there have been more than 20 coastal storms that have resulted in flood insurance claims for property damage. The map shown below illustrates the 100-year floodplain areas in Hull. Flood damage has historically occurred throughout the 100-year floodplain and in some instances, outside of the floodplain. The map below also identifies areas where a concentrated number of properties have filed flood damage claims multiple times.
Land areas that are at a high risk for flooding are defined as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), or floodplains. If you are located in the SFHA, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) predicts that you are subject to flooding during a 100-year storm event. The SFHA includes AE, AO and VE Zones, which are most common in Hull. To find your property's designation go to the following link:
FEMA flood maps (FIRMS) may also be viewed at Town Hall at 253 Atlantic Avenue, on the second floor or online here.
The FIRMS depict three coastal flood hazard zones:
- Zone VE, which is a special flood hazard area along the coast subject to inundation by the 100-year floodplain, with additional hazards due to velocity (wave action). Base flood elevations have been determined.
- Zone AE, which is within the 100-year floodplain. The base flood elevations have been determined.
- Zone AO, which is within the 100-year floodplain with flood depths of 1 to 3 feet, where a clearly defined channel does not exist, where the path of flooding is unpredictable and where velocity flow may be evident. Such flooding is characterized by ponding or sheet flow.
The Town recently submitted a LOMAR (map revision request) request to FEMA. Proposed changes would go into effect on December 13, 2017 and would then need to be approved at Town Meeting. You can view the Letter of Map Revision Determination Document here.
Recently published FIRMs also include a line showing the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA) which is the inland limit of the area expected to receive 1.5-foot or greater breaking waves during a 1 percent-annual-chance flood event. More information on each flood zone designation and the LiMWA can be found at the links below.
If your property is in a floodplain, the Town's Building Department can provide you with more information such as: FIRM information, special flood-related hazards, estimated depth of flooding, information about known flooding and drainage problem areas, and resource areas. The Town’s Building and Conservation Departments can also provide insight to potential flood mitigation measures. Additionally, click here to view a lecture given on September 9, 2013 by Anne Herbst (our former Conservation Administrator) which details the impact that climate change is having on the Town of Hull and other communities.