Floodplain Management

The City of Huntington has been a member of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since July 18, 1983.  Since May 1, 2015, the City of Huntington has also participated in the NFIP's Community Rating System (CRS), a voluntary incentive program that recognizes communities that implement floodplain management practices beyond Federal minimum requirements.  The City of Huntington presently maintains a Class 8 CRS rating, allowing flood insurance policy holders to receive an automatic 10% discount on flood insurance premiums if the property is located in the SFHA and 5% discount if located outside the SFHA.  The Department, through the Director, is the designated Floodplain Administrator & CRS Coordinator and responsible for administration and enforcement of the City's floodplain regulations in accordance with Section 158.049 of the City of Huntington Code of Ordinances. The City's Floodplain Administrator is also a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) by the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM).

The currently effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the City of Huntington are dated June 2, 2015.  These maps replace the 1983 Flood Insurance Rate Maps and were developed in by FEMA, in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources - Division of Water.  The new and more advanced digital maps use state-of-the-art technology and advanced engineering to increase the quality, reliability, and availability of flood hazard maps and data.  These new maps help to more efficiently and accurately identify flood hazard areas within the City of Huntington. 

One of the primary responsibilities of the Department in the area of floodplain management is the issuance of Floodplain Development Permits for development activities within identified Special Flood Hazard Area.  Most often, the need for these permits is identified by the Department through the process of issuing required building permits.  However, Floodplain Development Permits are also required for non-construction activities within SFHA such as excavation, filling, dredging and mining. 

When construction activities take place in the Special Flood Hazard Area, the Department is required to ensure that new construction and substantial improvement of existing structures is completed in accordance with adopted floodplain standards.  This often includes requiring and reviewing elevation certificates to ensure that new construction and reconstruction are elevated to the required minimum elevations in order to minimize potential flood hazard and damages. 

Floodplain management and its accompanying floodplain regulations are complex.  The information below is intended to provide a brief overview of the topic.  For more detailed information, visit the Quick Links at the bottom of the page.  For information about SFHA or flood zone designation, visit our GIS website and select "Hydrology" then "Flood Zone" from the Layer List or contact the Department. 

 

Real-Time Flood Information

The U.S. Geological Survey, in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Transportation, and the US Army Corps of Engineers maintain two stream gauges that provides real-time information for the Little River (upstream of the City of Huntington) and for the Wabash River (below Roush Lake) to help you determine actions to take in the event of a flood.  This is the same information that the City utilizes to assess its response to flooding along these waterways. 

During times of moderate and severe flooding, forecasts concerning anticipated river levels are prepared by the National Weather Service.  NWS provides predictions as to how high the water will go based upon ground conditions, forecasted precipitation, and river hydraulics and hydrology.

The real-time data may be found here on the National Weather Service website for both locations:

How to read the Little River Graph:

The stage of the river is the height of the water surface above a known elevation. At this location, the gage datum listed as 723.38 (NAVD 1988).  Specific public flood responses are triggered when the National Weather Service predicts a certain stage will be reached.  Below is a summary of those responses specifically for Huntington along the Little River.  These readings do not have any meaning for the Wabash River, or other areas along the Little River beyond Huntington.

11 feet - Observation Stage

The observation stage is when City staff will begin monitoring weather forecasts and the river gauge on a regular basis.  

City staff will begin assessing equipment and inventory needs at this time.

 

12 feet - Action Stage

The Action Stage is a "heads-up" stage at which the National Weather Service begins to issue river flood advisories and river forecasts.  Typically any water overflowing is limited to small areas of parkland or low-lying agricultural areas. 

At this stage City staff will monitor water levels and conditions multiple times per day.  Depending upon precipitation forecasts, the City may begin precautionary steps, such as implementing the Flood Response and Evacuation Plan and performing an inspection of stormwater facilities and equipment designed to handle flood waters. 

 

15 feet - Minor Flood Stage

The Little River is at bankfull conditions.  Few, if any, buildings are expected to be inundated; however, low-lying roads may be covered with water. 

City staff will monitor water levels and conditions hourly.  It will also inspect roadway conditions and restrict travel on impacted roadways if necessary.  If flood conditions are anticipated to worse, the City and Huntington County Emergency Management will determine the need for resources such as sandbags and shelters to be put on alert.  The Flood Response and Evacuation Plan will be put into place and followed for all subsequent stages.

 

16 feet - Moderate Flood Stage

Moderate flooding is in progress.  Secondary roads are blocked by flood waters.  People in these areas should move property to higher ground and those nearest the river may have to voluntarily evacuate their homes. 

At this stage City staff will begin continual observation of water levels and conditions.  It will continue to inspect roadway conditions and restrict travel on impacted roadways if necessary.  It will work with Huntington County Emergency Management to determine if sandbagging and sheltering needs exist and work to make those resources available to the public.  In addition, the Emergency Operations Center may be activated to coordinate response efforts.

 

19 feet - Major Flood Stage

At this level, many roads and bridges will be closed and there will be extensive inundation and damage with many voluntary evacuations.  Significant to catastrophic, life-threatening flooding is usually also expected at this stage.  Extensive flooding with some low-lying areas being completely inundated is likely.

City staff will continue constant observation of water levels and conditions.  Roadway inspections will also continue and restrictions on several low-lying roadways will be implemented.  Volunteers will be called upon to assist with sandbagging efforts, emergency shelters will be opened, and first responders will assist with voluntary evacuations.  The Emergency Operations Center will be activated to coordinate response efforts among all agencies and jurisdictions. 

 

20 feet - Evacuation Stage (record flood 1/4/1950)

Flooding approaches the height of the record flood.  There is extensive inundation and damage with many primary roads and bridges closed.  Many evacuations can be expected at this level and mandatory evacuations in some areas are likely.

At this stage City staff continues to observe water levels and conditions.  A number of roadways will be closed due to high water and the public will be informed of any necessary evacuations routes.  Areas subject to mandatory evacuation will be notified by first responders and additional shelters will be opened.  The Emergency Operations Center will continued operations and request assistance from state or federal agencies if necessary. 

 

23 feet - 100 Year Flood Stage

At this level, flooding exceeds the record flood level.  Massive inundation and damage and the closure of primary roads and bridges can be expected.  A significant number of mandatory evacuations can also be expected.

City staff continues to observe water levels and conditions.  A number of roadways will be closed due to high water and the public will be informed of evacuations routes.  Those areas subject to mandatory evacuation will be notified by first responders and additional shelters will be opened.  The Emergency Operations Center will continued operations and request assistance from state or federal agencies if necessary.  Staff will also prepare for post flood cleanup and damage assessment duties. 

How to read the Wabash River Graph:

The stage of the river is the height of the water surface above a known elevation. At this location, the gage datum listed as 699.57 (NAVD 1988).  Specific public flood responses are triggered when the National Weather Service predicts a certain stage will be reached.  Below is a summary of those responses specifically for Huntington along the Wabash River.  These readings are significantly influenced by reservoir operations and have some impact on the Little River due to backwater conditions, however they do not have any meaning for other areas along the Wabash River beyond Huntington.

16 feet - Observation Stage

The observation stage is when City staff will begin monitoring weather forecasts and the river gauge on a regular basis.  

City staff will begin assessing equipment and inventory needs at this time.

 

18 feet - Action Stage

The Action Stage is a "heads-up" stage at which the National Weather Service begins to issue river flood advisories and river forecasts.  Typically any water overflowing is limited to small areas of parkland or low-lying agricultural areas. 

At this stage City staff will monitor water levels and conditions multiple times per day.  Depending upon precipitation forecasts, the City may begin precautionary steps, such as implementing the Flood Response and Evacuation Plan and performing an inspection of stormwater facilities and equipment designed to handle flood waters. 

 

20 feet - Minor Flood Stage

The Wabash River is at bankfull conditions.  Few, if any, buildings are expected to be inundated; however, low-lying roads may be covered with water. 

City staff will monitor water levels and conditions hourly.  It will also inspect roadway conditions and restrict travel on impacted roadways if necessary.  If flood conditions are anticipated to worse, the City and Huntington County Emergency Management will determine the need for resources such as sandbags and shelters to be put on alert.  The Flood Response and Evacuation Plan will be put into place and followed for all subsequent stages.

 

21 feet - Moderate Flood Stage

Moderate flooding is in progress.  Secondary roads are blocked by flood waters.  People in these areas should move property to higher ground and those nearest the river may have to voluntarily evacuate their homes. 

At this stage City staff will begin continual observation of water levels and conditions.  It will continue to inspect roadway conditions and restrict travel on impacted roadways if necessary.  It will work with Huntington County Emergency Management to determine if sandbagging and sheltering needs exist and work to make those resources available to the public.  In addition, the Emergency Operations Center may be activated to coordinate response efforts.

 

23 feet - Major Flood & Evacuation Stage (record flood 2/10/1959 - pre reservoir construction)

At this level, many roads and bridges will be closed and there will be extensive inundation and damage with many voluntary evacuations.  Significant to catastrophic, life-threatening flooding is usually also expected at this stage.  Extensive flooding with some low-lying areas being completely inundated is likely.  Flooding approaches the height of the record flood.  There is extensive inundation and damage with many primary roads and bridges closed.  Many evacuations can be expected at this level and mandatory evacuations in some areas are likely.

City staff will continue constant observation of water levels and conditions.  Roadway inspections will also continue and restrictions on several low-lying roadways will be implemented.  A number of roadways will be closed due to high water and the public will be informed of any necessary evacuations routes.  Volunteers will be called upon to assist with sandbagging efforts, emergency shelters will be opened, and first responders will assist with voluntary evacuations, and areas subject to mandatory evacuation will be notified by first responders .  The Emergency Operations Center will be activated to coordinate response efforts among all agencies and jurisdictions. 

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

The NFIP is a Federal program created by Congress and administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to mitigate future flood losses nationwide through sound, community-enforced building and zoning ordinances and to provide access to affordable, federally backed flood insurance protection for property owners.  The NFIP is designed to provide an insurance alternative to disaster assistance to meet the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods.

Participation in the NFIP is based on an agreement between the City of Huntington and the Federal Government that requires the City to adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risks to new construction in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA).  In return for the City's participation, the Federal Government makes flood insurance available to City property owners and residents as a financial protection against flood losses.

 

Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)

FEMA identifies flood hazard areas throughout the United States and its territories.  Most areas of flood hazard are commonly identified on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM).  One of these areas is the Special Flood Hazard Area.  The SFHA is a high-risk area defined as any land that would be inundated by a flood having a 1-percent chance of occurring in a given year (also referred to as the base flood).  The high-risk-area standard constitutes a reasonable compromise between the need for building restrictions to minimize potential loss of life and property and the economic benefits to be derived from floodplain development.  Development may take place within an SFHA, provided that development complies with local floodplain management ordinances, which must meet the minimum Federal requirements. Flood insurance is required for insurable structures within high-risk areas to protect Federal financial investments and assistance used for acquisition and/or construction purposes within communities participating in the NFIP.

The high-risk-area standard constitutes a reasonable compromise between the need for building restrictions to minimize potential loss of life and property and the economic benefits to be derived from floodplain development.  Development may take place within an SFHA, provided that development complies with local floodplain management ordinances, which must meet the minimum Federal requirements.  Flood insurance is required for insurable structures within high-risk areas to protect Federal financial investments and assistance used for acquisition and/or construction purposes within communities participating in the NFIP.  FIRMs are available for public inspection by visiting the Department.

Flood Map Information Service

The following information can be obtained at no charge by contacting the Department.  Please note that new Flood Insurance Rate Maps went into effect on June 2, 2015 for Huntington.  

Basic Flood Map Information: Basic information will be provided from the current FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map including whether a property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), community number, panel number and suffix, FIRM index date, FIRM zone, base flood elevation as shown on the FIRM, and the FIRM elevation datum.  Additionally, information about new FIRM changes and revalidated Letters of Map Revisions affecting properties in the City of Huntington can be provided by the Department.

Additional FIRM Information: Information about whether or not a property is located in a floodway can be provided.  If so, the Department can advise you of regulatory requirements for development in a floodway and help you to identify sources for other information concerning such. 

Other Flood Problems not Shown on FIRM: Known information about flood problems not shown on the FIRM, such as local drainage problems, areas mapped and regulated outside the SFHA, and dam failure inundation zones can be provided.

Flood Depth Data: Information about how deep potential floodwater coverage may be in given areas of the community can be provided based upon known ground elevation and base flood elevation data.

Special Flood-Related Hazards: Weather can change quickly and rainfall and flooding in areas upstream will affect the City of Huntington. Information on flood hazards that can affect Huntington include ice jams, debris causing changes in the flow path, unexpected soil erosion, dangers of driving in or through flood waters, and the dangers created by flood water inside of structures can be provided.

Historical Flood Information: Information about past floods, including historic flooding activity of record, can be provided. This includes whether and when a specific area has been flooded in the past, the location and elevation of high water marks, if a property is in a repetitive loss area, photos of past flooding in the community, and historic high water levels shown on the Little River and Wabash River USGS flood gauges.

Natural Floodplain Functions: Information concerning areas that should be protected because of their natural floodplain functions can be provided. This includes areas mapped in the National Wetlands Inventory, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mapped critical habitats, areas preserved as open space due to their natural floodplain functions, and other special areas.

Flood Insurance

The Little River, Wabash River, and their tributaries are beautiful assets that our residents enjoy.  These bodies of water can unleash a destructive force, capable of destroying homes and their contents.  However, all areas are susceptible to flooding to varying degrees.  In fact, 25% of all flood claims nationally occur in the low-to-moderate risk areas.  Flooding can be caused by heavy rains, melting snow, ice jams, inadequate drainage systems, failed protective devices such as levees and dams, as well as by tropical storms and hurricanes.

Residents can protect their homes against flooding in many ways.  One option is to purchase flood insurance available through the National Flood Insurance Program.  All properties in the City of Huntington are eligible for flood insurance, regardless of their location relative to the SFHA.  It is important to note that regular insurance policies do not cover damage due to floods since they are known hazards.  If your house is located in a regulated flood plain (Special Flood Hazard Area), and is financed through a lending institution that is federally regulated or federally insured, then you MUST purchase flood insurance. Insurance may be purchased through your personal insurance agent or company.  You can protect your home up to $250,000 for the structure and $100,000 for its contents.  Non-residential structures may be insured for up to $500,000.

Flood Safety Tips

  • Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths.  Currents can be deceptive.  If you walk in standing water be sure to use a pole or stick to ensure that firm ground is ahead.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. Road closures and barriers are there for your protection.  Remember, ‘Turn Around Don’t Down’.
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution.  Electrical current travels through water.  If you see downed power lines report them immediately by dialing 911.
  • Have your electricity turned off by your electric provider. If you have been flooded you should be aware that some appliances, such as televisions, hold electrical charges even after they have been unplugged.  Do not use appliances or motors that have been wet unless they have been cleaned and checked by a professional.
  • Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage.  Do not smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
  • Look out for animals. Small animals or reptiles that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours.
  • Clean everything that got wet. Floodwaters have picked up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms, factories, and storage buildings.  Spoiled food, flooded cosmetics, and medicine can be health hazards.  When in doubt, throw them out.

Preparation is very important in any emergency situation. Please be aware of things you can do to alleviate flooding in your area. Plan ahead and feel free to contact the Village of Lincolnshire Police Department or Public Works Department with any question you may have.

Flood Response and Evacuation Plan

The City of Huntington has completed a Flood Response and Evacuation plan in conjunction with other jurisdictions of Huntington County.  The plan is available as a resource for the entire community and may be accessed by clicking the link above.

During a Flood

In the event of a flood the City of Huntington, in conjunction with Huntington County Emergency Management will take the following actions:

  • The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be activated.
  • The Flood Response and Evacuation Plan (FREP) will be implemented.
  • Important updates and information concerning flood levels, affected areas, water levels, and road closures, and assistance options will be broadcast by the City of Huntington and Huntington County Emergency Management websites and Facebook pages, the Code Red notification system, and through traditional radio and TV updates.
  • If your property is specifically threatened by flood waters, you may be personally notified by phone via the Code Red notification system (you must sign up for this service), or in person by emergency personnel who may inform you of a voluntary evacuation effort. Regardless, you should plan ahead by preparing your own preliminary damage protection plan for protection of your home and its occupants.
  • The City will begin to place sandbags as necessary to protect public infrastructure and sandbags may be made available to the public
  • If damage is sustained to properties in the SFHA, the Department will conduct assessments or inspections. Color coded inspection notices will be posted at the property and following the information listed on these notices is critical to your safe and compliant re-occupation or reconstruction.

As a property owner, you are responsible for protective measures for your individual home and property, including sandbagging, pumping, turning electricity off, etc.  Action taken by the City, such as sandbagging, is intended to protect public property or infrastructure and therefore benefit the entire area.  If requested, the Department can meet with you and/or visit you property to review its flood problems and explain possible ways to stop flooding or prevent flood damage at no charge.  

Quick Links

Floodplain Development Permit

Indiana Floodplain Information Portal & eFARA request

Flood Smart (NFIP)

Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Water

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Contact Us

Bryn Keplinger, Director of Community Development & Redevelopment
300 Cherry St
Huntington, IN 46750

  • Home: (260) 356-5146
  • Home Fax: (260) 454-5211
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