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Base Flood or 100-year Flood: The flood having a one percent chance of occurring in any given year.

Base Flood Elevation (BFE): The BFE is the elevation, expressed in feet above sea level, that the base flood is expected to reach.  The BFE is the elevation used by financial institutions and insurance companies to determine if flood insurance is needed and to determine the flood insurance rate for a particular property. BFEs are shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).  

Community Rating System (CRS): The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.  As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS:

  1. Reduce flood damage to insurable property;
  2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and
  3. Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

Albany’s participation in FEMA’s CRS program allows reduced flood insurance premiums by 20 % for those in the Special Flood Hazard Areas and 10 % for those in the Non-Special Flood Area.  

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): The federal agency charged with implementing the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA provides floodplain maps to the City of Albany.

Flood: A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from: 

  1. The overflow of inland or tidal waters; and/or 
  2. The unusual and rapid accumulation of runoff of surface waters from any source. 

Floodplain: The combined area of the floodway and the flood fringe. Also known as the 100-year floodplain, and the Special Flood Hazard Area. Note Floodplain Relationships diagram below.

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Floodplain Development: Any man-made change to real property, including but not limited to, construction or placement of buildings or other structures, fencing, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavating, land clearing, drilling, or Continuous Storage Operations in the Special Flood Hazard Area (100-year floodplain).

Flood Fringe: Those areas on either side of the floodway within the Special Flood Hazard Area (100-year floodplain). This area is subject to inundation by the base flood but conveys little or no velocity flows. Zone designations on Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Albany include A and AE. Note Floodplain Relationships diagram above.

Floodway: The regulatory floodway is the stream channel plus that portion of the overbanks that must be kept free from encroachment in order to discharge the 1-percent-annual-chance flood without increasing flood levels by more than 1.0 foot. Note Floodplain Relationships diagram above.

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM): The official map on which FEMA has delineated the Base Flood Elevations, regulatory floodways, and Special Flood Hazard Areas.

Letter of Map Change (LOMC) means an official FEMA determination, by letter, to amend or revise effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Insurance Studies. LOMCs are issued in the following categories:

Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA): A revision based on technical data showing that a property was incorrectly included in a designated special flood hazard area. A LOMA amends the current effective Flood Insurance Rate Map and establishes that a specific property is not located in a special flood hazard area; 

Letter of Map Revision (LOMR): A revision based on technical data showing, usually due to manmade changes, changes to flood zones, flood elevations, floodplain and floodway delineations, and planimetric (horizontal) features. One common type of LOMR, a LOMR-F, is a determination that a structure or parcel has been elevated by fill above the Base Flood Elevation and is excluded from the special flood hazard area; and

Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR): A formal review and comment by FEMA as to whether a proposed project complies with the minimum National Flood Insurance Program floodplain management criteria. A CLOMR does NOT amend or revise effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps, Flood Boundary and Floodway Maps, or Flood Insurance Studies.

LIDAR: A newer technology that uses lasers to measure ground surface elevations from the air. 

National Flood Insurance Program: FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has three basic components – flood hazard mapping, flood insurance, and floodplain regulations. The combination of the three all work together to reduce flood damages. NFIP is founded on a mutual agreement between the federal government and each participating community. Local, state and federal governments and private insurance companies must share roles and responsibilities to meet the goals and objectives of the NFIP. The City of Albany joined the NFIP in 1985. The community's role is of paramount importance. Residents and property owners can get federally-backed flood insurance only if the community carries out its responsibilities. The community enacts and implements the floodplain regulations required for participation in NFIP. The community's regulations must meet the regulations set by its state, as well as the NFIP criteria.

Special Flood Hazard Area: Areas subject to inundation during the occurrence of the 1 percent annual flood. These areas include both the flood fringe and the floodway and are collectively commonly referred to as the “100-year floodplain.”