Flooding can happen almost anytime and anywhere. It’s important for residents to know their flood risk so they can protect themselves and their property. Henrico County is constantly collecting information to determine where flooding is likely to happen in our community.
Where Might Flooding Occur?
There are two types of floodplains in Henrico County—those identified by FEMA and County-identified floodplains. Henrico County went through a process in 2007 to identify additional floodplains, above and beyond FEMA, in order to better protect County residents.
You can learn more about flood hazard areas by viewing Henrico County’s floodplain maps. Henrico County’s current floodplain maps became effective on December 18, 2007. These can be found on the county’s Flood Zone Map Viewer. This includes both the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) and the County-identified floodplains. The FEMA FIRMs are used by lenders to determine flood insurance requirements on properties and can also be found in the FEMA Map Service Center.
Using the Flood Zone Map Viewer
- Open the Flood Zone map in your internet browser.
- Access the legend. In the top right corner, click the button with three horizontal lines. The legend will show you what the different symbols on the map indicate. Henrico County special flood hazard areas and FEMA special flood hazard areas are shown as shaded areas.
- Turn layers on or off. By default, the map will show Dam Points and Henrico Flood Zone and Dam Safety Information, but additional layers can be turned on. In the top right corner, click the button that looks like three squares stacked on one another. In this panel you can check and uncheck boxes to turn layers on or off.
- Find your property. If you would like to learn where your property is located relative to a flood zone, you can search your address or parcel number in the top left corner. If your property is in one of the colored shaded areas, you may have an increased flood risk.
- Explore more. What routes do you typically travel in the county? Make yourself aware of potential flood hazards on county roads and consider alternate routes during rain events.
Real-Time Gauge Information
Real-time stream gauge information is available through the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) streamgaging network at multiple locations in the County. There are two stream gauges along the James River that provide information for Henrico: the Westham Gage near the Huguenot Bridge and the City Locks Gage near Great Shiplock Park in the City of Richmond. The County also has precipitation and water level gauges at five county-owned dams. The USGS also has current water data available for Virginia.
Changes to Floodplain Boundaries
Floodplain boundaries may be modified based on new data or development changes through a Letter of Map Change (LOMC). A LOMC is (1) an official FEMA letter that amends or revises an effective Flood Insurance Rate Map or Flood Insurance Study or (2) an official county letter that amends or revises the most recent County Comprehensive Drainage Map.
FEMA’s LOMC process must be used to revise the FEMA floodplains in Henrico County, and FEMA’s process includes Letters of Map Revision (LOMR) and Letters of Map Amendment (LOMA). LOMRs change the boundaries displayed on the map and require engineered flood studies to support the request. LOMAs can remove individual structures or lots on naturally occurring high ground from the floodplain without changing the map boundaries.
Henrico County’s LOMC process must be used to revise the Community floodplains in Henrico County, and this process includes LOMRs that change the boundaries displayed on the map. This process requires engineered flood studies to support the request and must be approved by the County Engineer. This process is outlined in the Floodplain Technical Guidance Manual.
Current Letters of Map Revisions
James River Conditional Letter of Map Revision
A CLOMR was approved by FEMA on June 29, 2021, for Timmons Group, on behalf of Reynolds Real Estate Ventures, LLC, to revise the floodplain map for the James River and James River Tributary #7. Reynolds Real Estate Ventures, LLC is proposing to place fill as part of an economic development project in Chesterfield County. This change would revise the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), panels 51087C0240C and 51087C0220C, for Henrico County as well as FIRM panels in Chesterfield County. Letters were sent to all property owners affected by this proposed change prior to FEMA approval. The Work Map and Annotated FIRM Map that were submitted to FEMA are provided below, which show the proposed floodplain boundary revisions.
This CLOMR approval means that Timmons Group and Reynolds Real Estate Ventures, LLC have conditional approval to move forward with their project. CLOMR approval will not revise the effective map. This conditional approval is for impacts to the floodplain map only, and the project is still required to comply with all applicable Chesterfield County requirements. If the project is approved and constructed, a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) request must be submitted to FEMA to officially revise the FIRM. This revised FIRM would then be used for flood insurance purposes and floodplain development requirements.
The proposed changes by Timmons Group include the following revisions to the flood hazards along the James River:
- The floodway would be revised from approximately 19,740 feet upstream of Interstate 295 to approximately 26,980 feet upstream of Interstate 295. The floodway increases and decreases within the revision area along the James River.
- Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) will decrease along the James River.
- The floodplain will increase and decrease along the James River.
- BFEs will be established for a portion of the James River.
- BFEs will be established for a portion of James River Tributary 7 from Kingsland Road to approximately 930 feet upstream of Kingsland Road along James River Tributary 7. There is a decrease in BFEs from the confluence with the James River to Kingsland Road along James River Tributary 7.
- The SFHA will increase and decrease along James River Tributary 7.
- Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) — This is the approval letter from FEMA.
- Technical Support Data Notebook — This includes a project summary, modeling results, no rise certification, maps, and hydrologic and hydraulic analysis (floodplain modeling) summary.
- Work Map — This map shows the existing and proposed floodplain boundaries and BFEs/cross-sections as well as the proposed development site (in Chesterfield County) and the impacted parcels.
- Annotated FIRM Map — This map shows the current effective FIRM panel information with the proposed floodplain boundaries and proposed development site (in Chesterfield County).
For questions related to the economic development project that this CLOMR is associated with, please contact the Chesterfield County Environmental Engineering Department.