Is Your Home in a Flood Zone?


Click HERE to go to the California state government created website that gives you a description of the flood hazard (and other natural hazards) for any property.



Understanding Flood Zones

In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance program. This is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As such, FEMA has issued Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) covering most of the Santa Clara Valley and San Francisco peninsula homes. If the property is projected to be subject in the event of a 1% (or 100 year) flood, it is classified as being in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). What people will identify as a "flood zone" is usually a special flood hazard area.


The difference is significant because, using Palo Alto as an example, essentially all of Palo Alto is in a flood zone. Quoting the City of Palo Alto web site:


All of Palo Alto that is not in a Special Flood Hazard Area is in "ZONE X", which is described as an area of moderate risk of flooding (roughly speaking, outside the 100-year flood but inside the 500-year flood limits), or, for A0 zones, where the 100-year flood will be less than a foot deep. Thus, all of Palo Alto has been determined to be subject to some risk of flooding, and it is inaccurate to say that a given property is "not in a flood zone" simply because it is not in a Special Flood Hazard Area.



Palo Alto Flood Zone Descriptions


Zone X

The special floodplain construction rules are not applicable to structures in an "X" zone, and federal regulations do not require that flood insurance be purchased to protect an equity loan on structures in an "X" zone. But flood insurance is available for structures in "X" zones, and at rather attractive prices.


Zone ACr

A stream by definition is flooded. If the stream is predicted to be contained in its channel during a 100 year flood FEMA notes this on the flood maps as ZONE A CONTAINED IN CHANNEL.


Zone A0

Predicted shallow sheet-flow flooding between one and three feet depth from an overflowing creek.


Zone AH

Area of flooding less than three feet depth.


Zone AE

Potential tidal water flooding due to extremely high tide and or storm activity. FEMA has estimated that some properties that are not 10.5 feet above sea level are at risk.


Zone A

Areas that are flood-prone in the event of a 100-year flood but for which the flooding depth is not predicted from the available data


Click HERE for the City of Palo Alto flood information.



Construction in a Special Flood Hazard Area


The National Flood Insurance Program imposes requirements on construction. The most important one is that the lowest floor be elevated above the flood level. This effectively prohibits basements. Additionally, zoning requirements which limit building height and impose a daylight plane can prevent the building of a second floor if the first floor must be raised too much.

For more flood zone information:


Coming Soon
1675 Tupolo Dr, San Jose, CA 95124
3652 Sorci Dr, San Jose, CA 95124
505 Minton Ln, Mountain View, CA 94041
41415 Millenium Ter, Fremont, CA 94538

1535 Treviso Ave, San Jose, CA 95118
20288 Pinntage Pkwy, Cupertino, CA 95014

5387 Quebec Cmn, Fremont, CA 94555

1821 Mandel Ct, San Jose, CA 95131

Currently Pending

1514 Redmond Ave, San Jose, CA 95120

22943 Longdown Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014

600 S Abel St #525, Milpitas, CA 95035

5992 Treviso Ter, Fremont, CA 94555

1427 Kinsport Lane, San Jose, CA 95120

3812 Fiano Cmn, Fremont, CA 94555

694 Valley Way, Santa Clara, CA 95051

22551 Alcalde Rd, Cupertino, CA 95014
4735 McHenry Gate Way, Pleasanton, CA 94566

6318 Jarvis Ave, Newark, CA 94560
943 Baines St, East Palo Alto, CA 94303

6129 Genoa Ter, Fremont, CA 94555

Currently Sold

600 S. Abel St, #525

Milpitas,CA 95035

167 S San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA 94022

Tel: (408) 674-4418
Calbre: 01371905


Currently Sold

22943 Longdown Rd

Cupertino, CA 95014

  • contact-me-icon-63
  • img_179745
  • w-facebook
  • White Instagram Icon
  • White LinkedIn Icon
  • White YouTube Icon

© Copyright 2021 Yvonne Yang, All Rights Reserved