Flood risk in the City of Moorhead is largely the result of being located next to the Red River of the North and the flat topography of its valley. The City's floodplain management goals are to minimize risk to life, health, safety, commerce, and governmental services and to avoid extreme public expenditures and impairment to the tax base.
What is a Flood?
The City of Moorhead participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Community Rating System (CRS). For more information about the NFIP or CRS program click on the Flood Insurance link above.
Anywhere it rains
or snows, it can flood. A flood is a general and temporary
condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more
properties are inundated by water. www.floodsmart.gov
Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, doesn't mean
you won't in the future. Flood risk is based on these factors:
- Flooding history
- Run-off (from rainfall and snowmelt)
- Flood control measures
- Changes due to building and development
- Available water storage
What Causes a Flood?
Spring time brings warmer weather, but also brings the potential for rapid snowmelt, severe storms, and heavy rainfall which all increase flood risk. An untimely, steady rainfall can cause rivers to overflow their banks. You don't have to be near the water to be at risk.
- Spring Thaw
During the spring, frozen land prevents melting snow or rainfall from seeping into the ground.
The top ten historical crests on the Red River have occurred during spring
thaw. National Weather Service
- Ice Jams
Long cold spells can cause the surface of the river to freeze, leading to ice jams.
- Heavy Rains
Excessive rainfall can occur throughout the year. Rising rivers, overloaded storm drains
saturated ground can cause significant floods.
Floodplain Map Adoption
To identify properties at risk of flooding, FEMA prepares flood insurance studies and floodplain maps. Flood risk is designated by zones on the map. Revised FEMA floodplain maps for the City
became effective on April 17, 2012. Revisions to City Code requirements related to floodplain management
became effective on March 12, 2012.
FEMA retains sole authority for designating which properties are included or removed from the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA Zone AE, 100-year floodplain). Congress requires that FEMA periodically remap floodplains to reflect population growth. You can view the historical and the
effective FEMA floodplain maps for the City using the Floodplain Maps link on this page.
How the Map Will Affect You
A larger portion of the City is included in the SFHA on the
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). Some properties that were previously considered low risk (Zone X, or 500-year floodplain)
have been categorized as high risk (Zone AE, or 100-year floodplain). Property owners newly mapped into the SFHA may be required to purchase flood insurance. All SFHA properties with a federally-backed mortgage must carry flood insurance.
Public Education Articles
Spring 2011 City Insights
Summer 2011 City Insights
Fall/Winter 2011 City Insights
FEMA flood facts.
FEMA Flood Facts
Minnesota DNR floodplain
management and flooding information.
Family disaster plans.
-Your Family Disaster Plan
An American Red Cross and FEMA guide on how to repair your home after flood damage.
-Repairing Your Flooded Home
used floodplain terms.
-FEMA Floodplain Terminology
For FIRM Zone Information, please contact Andrea Crabtree Nayes at (218) 299-5387.
For Floodplain Information related to your home or business, please contact the City of Moorhead Engineering Department at (218) 299-5390.