How do I find out if a property is in a flood plain?

I thought that it would be easy enough to find out, but I’ve had no luck. Most google links take you to FEMA, which then takes you into bureaucratic hell.

I share your pain. I wasn’t in a flood zone for 10 years, then suddenly I was. Or at least that’s what “they” were saying. I could never establish it one way or another, but bought flood insurance anyway, just because it might be a good idea. The “minimum” flood insurance, by the way, is useless. It doesn’t cover your personal property and maxes out at $250,000 for the structure.

Contact your city or county planning office.

FEMA didn’t seem so bad for me.

Check with your local county. Harris County floods a lot, so there’s plenty of information available.

This is for a small rural town in Texas - Marlin, Falls County, Texas. Some of the bigger cities seem to have their own maps. The only map I’ve been able to get from FEMA is one that shows - as far as I can tell - just the outline of the mapped area and some major streets, but no indication of which areas may be subject to flooding.

FEMA is your official source, and their website need not be bureaucratic hell.

You can enter your address on this site, and get a current flood map.

Wow- I’ve never seen a flood map quite like that one. It appears to be telling you that there are no FEMA-designated flood zones in Marlin. Your City planning department should be able to confirm that.

Your county has a map showing all the flood plains, as it is necessary for them to know that info.

I second this. Sometimes they are located at the local public library.

Looks to me like Marlin’s just east of the main Brazos flood plain. I’d ask around at the county and see if they have any resources.

The FEMA maps show relative flood risk- they’re what are used to determine flood insurance premiums.

I was required by the terms of the mortgage, to get Flood Insurance.
Using Twoflower’s link, I seem to be in a shaded area. The legend is exceedingly hard to read, the map does not auto-size, and the whole thing appears to be in a major re-write of the system.
IOW: Less than user friendly.
My take-away is that I MAY be in a ‘1% annual chance of flood’. Or not. There is an obvious drainage ditch 2 block over - there is no indication that it has more risk of flood than the surrounding area,
There are several both residential and commercial developments on what is obviously a flood plain, and THAT is not noted.

As mentioned, these are not like the flood maps of yore.

And: Flood risk used to be expressed as Qnnn - the nnn being number of years between flooding. Rural county roads had Q25 or Q50 culverts/bridges. Interstates got Q100 or better.

Just west of here the Interstate is routed over a mile or so of bridge. No higher than it is, I would not be surprised if many folks do not realize it is a bridge.

In the bad old days the ‘marshland’ was a ‘swamp’ and was to be filled and made usable as quickly as possible. Now we build bridges over it.

FL: Take note and let the Everglades return to its natural mix of fresh and salt water. (there are two roads built on fill cutting the flow)

I have used one of my internal databases to spit out the following 100 year flood zone for your town.

not sure how accurate it is unfortunately, you are a bit out of the way. Seems to indicate if that minor (dam type?) structure at the south western end of Oil Mill lake could pass water and the passage such overflow may take until it reaches that natural watershed adjacent to the cemetery.

Not sure where you live in Marlin, but perhaps some field recce in combination with any other sources you found may collaborate this info.

Another valuable tool is asking a few of the oldest people who are still reliable in town to see what their memory says. Although human intervention in watercoures and land coverage can make the historical perspective worthless in lots of cases.

I’m just playing with my prior education as a geomorphologist, so don’t take this as professional advice. Desk-top assessment is best done using overlapping aerial photos and a stereoscope. A licensed geologist or engineer can roam the place in a day and give an acceptable assessment (accurate maybe 90% of the time but cannot predict the outcome from an extreme situation):

Marlin appears bounded to the west by a long northwest-southeast flood plane (brown colored) where you see the existing river meandering west and northwest of the town. That’s your flood plane right there.

There’s another low area south east of the town roundabout Reagan, also colored brown. Here the the streams (green) east of Marlin join together and drain. Marlin itself appears built on a high piece of ground and the road connecting Marlin, Perry and Reisel appears to be a ridge.

Two more possible resources for you: US Geological Survey and United States Army Corps of Engineers. My dad retired from one and my brother retired from the other, so flood plains got discussed at dinnertime, a lot.

Wow, Richox, you pretty well nailed it. The SDMB comes through again. The specific area I’m interested in is between Norwood Street and Calvary Cemetery, in particular just above the “y” in Calvary. Your pink line was almost exactly what I expected.

Marlin has an ordinance that addresses flooding: Ordinance # 14-002
The ordinance makes reference to the Flood Hazard Boundary Map that appears to be included with the collection of maps on pages 129 - 139, (the final 11 pages), of the Falls County Mitigation Action Plan.
The Mitigation Action Plan also refers to Flood Insurance Rate Maps, (FIRM), but I did not find one on-line. You should be able to obtain one at the county seat, (provided the county bureaucracy does not get in the way).