Flood Information


What You need to Know

Newport News, like communities across the country, is at risk of flooding. Being a coastal community, our threats are somewhat different in that we are susceptible from tidal flooding and storm surge as well as from heavy rainfall and riverine flooding. Flooding can occur almost anywhere during periods of excessive rainfall which often accompanies tropical systems and Nor’Easters.

What Should I Do?

For information about what to do before, during and after a weather emergency, please go to the following links. There you will find information about how to make a plan, what to have ready and information about how to stay safe.

Newport News is collecting information about flooding and drainage issues throughout the city. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will be used to inform the Stormwater Master Planning Effort.

For more information, please visit www.FloodSmart.gov.

Flood Zones

FEMA, manages the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which sets rates and mitigates flood risk by zoning and building regulations.

Stream Gauges

The City is installing eight gauges to better detect and alert you to rising water. The City will provide a new alerting system later this summer which you can sign up for free.

Storm Surge

Hurricanes can produce tidal flooding 8 feet or higher in Newport News depending on a variety of conditions.

Evacuation Zones

These are based on the latest science and historical records which more accurately identify areas at risk in specific storms, so Know Your Zone.

Master Planning

Starting in 2023, Newport News is undertaking a multi-year, master planning effort to tackle flooding challenges.

Types & Causes of Flooding in Newport News

  1. Urban Flooding
  2. Storm Surge
  3. Overbank Flooding
  4. Riverine Flooding

In an undeveloped area, nature takes care of the water runoff. It can:

  • remain where it falls and evaporates
  • become absorbed into the ground near the surface where it feeds trees and plants, or
  • percolate deeply into the ground, and replenish the groundwater supply, or
  • collect into streams and culverts.

However, runoff can occur if the rate of rainfall is more than what can evaporate or penetrate into the soil. It also happens when rain falls on impervious surfaces, such as roadways and other paved areas. When this happens, and it is unconfined flow, the broad sheets of water can cause sheet erosion or the uniform removal of soil in thin layers. It can also pick up and absorb or carry contaminants from the surface. When the amount of surface water runoff that goes into streams and rivers is greater than what it can carry, water overflows the stream banks, spilling out into adjacent low lying areas.