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Flood Guide

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Is My Property At Risk of Being Flooded?
If you live along or near the Winooski, North Branch, Dog, or Steven's Branch Rivers or other water course, your property may be in a floodplain. The floodplain is an area identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with a 1% chance of being flooded each year. To help you determine where your property is in relation to the floodplain, please check the following map: 100-Year Flood Map. You can get more information about FEMA at their website,

What Can I Do To Protect My Property?
After prevention, perhaps the most important flood protection device is insurance. There are also many ways to physically protect your house, building, or property from damage due to flooding. These include elevating your building above the base flood elevation, installing closures and sealants around doors and windows, constructing new watertight walls, or constructing floodwalls or levees.

The Kellogg-Hubbard library has the following books which explain floodproofing in more detail:
  1. Floodproofing Non-Residential Structures, FEMA, 1986.
  2. Retrofitting Flood-prone Residential Structures, FEMA, 1986.
  3. Design Guidelines for Flood Damage Reduction, FEMA, 1981.
You can get more information about the Kellogg-Hubbard Library at their website,

Flood Insurance
If your property is located in the floodplain and you do not have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. However, because Montpelier participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy. The insurance is backed by the Federal government and is available to everyone, even for properties that have been flooded in the past. The City of Montpelier has implemented a number of initiatives in an effort to reduce damage due to flooding. As a result, the City was able to achieve a rating of 9 through the Community Rating System (CRS) Program, which translates into a 5% reduction in flood insurance rates for the municipality as well as individual policy holders. For more information about the National Flood Insurance Program, check out their site at

What Else Can Be Done?
  1. Do not dump or throw trash into ditches, streams or rivers. A plugged channel cannot carry water and when it rains the water has to go somewhere.
  2. If your property is next to a ditch or stream, please do your part and keep the banks clear of brush and debris.
  3. Always check with the City before you build on, alter, regrade or fill on your property.

Building in the Floodplain
All development in the floodplain requires a permit from the Planning and Development Office. New buildings are required to be built above the base flood elevation. Also, any additions which will exceed 50% of the value of the existing building must be treated as a new building and raised above the base flood elevation or otherwise floodproofed. More information on permitting in the floodplain can be found at the following two sites: the Planning and Community Development Office or Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.

City of Montpelier Flood Hazard Regulation:

If a Flood Does Occur, What Should You Do?

  1. Listen to the Radio. If a flood is imminent or a possibility, information will be provided to residents through local radio and TV stations. The City and State have flood monitoring programs in place to anticipate and alleviate flooding.
  2. Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the #1 cause of flood deaths. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of water can knock you off your feet.
  3. Do not drive through a flooded area. Don't drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.
  4. Stay away from power lines and electrical wires.
  5. Move to the second floor or roof if caught by suddenly rising water.
  6. Have your electricity turned off by the power company.
  7. Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors may be covered with debris which conceals dangerous footing.
  8. Be alert for gas leaks.
  9. Boil water until water has been declared safe.
  10. If, and only if, time permits:
    1. turn off all utilities
    2. move valuable papers
    3. fill tubs, sinks, and jugs with clean water
    4. board up windows
    5. bring outdoor possessions inside the house or tie them down.

History of Flooding in Montpelier

Montpelier is susceptible to flooding at all times of the year, but particularly in the spring during the spring run-off and ice break-up. Floods have occurred due to intense rain, ice jams, and combinations of both rain and ice jams. There have been three significant floods in Montpelier this century.

1927 Flood
This was the most destructive hydrological event in Vermont's history. In the Winooski Valley, 55 deaths and $13.5 million in damage occurred. The flood destroyed many bridges and caused extensive structural damage to buildings.

1936 Flood
Heavy rains and moderate temperatures contributed to a large amount of run-off. Coupled with the breakup of thick ice, flooding occurred in the downtown after an ice-jam formed on the Winooski behind the old Bailey Dam.

1992 Flood
Due to sudden warm temperatures, the ice broke up along the Winooski River and an ice jam occurred just beyond the Bailey Avenue bridge. The water level quickly rose and flooded most of the City's downtown and some residences outside of the downtown. No deaths occurred; however, extensive damage occurred to buildings and through the loss of store inventories and records.

Montpelier Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan
Although the city government, state government, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have constructed flood mitigation devices, enacted various forms of legislation, and initiated numerous activities and programs designed to mitigate flooding and flood damage to the city, the threat of flooding and flood damage remains significant. The Montpelier Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan, adopted in 1998, presents strategies to mitigate future flood losses in the event a flood does occur.

What If My Property Is Not The Floodplain?

It is possible that as the shape of land changes over time or new information becomes available, properties once believed to be in the floodplain might, in fact, no longer be. Below are forms property owners may use to request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency revise and update their maps accordingly.
  • Form MT-EZ, Application form for Single Residential Lot or Structure, 1,105 KB,
  • Form MT-1, Application/Certification Forms and Instructions for Letters of Map Amendment, Conditional Letters of Map Amendment, Letters of Map Revision (Based on Fill), and Conditional Letters of Map Revision (Based on Fill), 356 KB,
  • Form MT-2, Application/Certification Forms and Instructions for Conditional Letters of Map Revision, Letters of Map Revision, and Physical Map Revisions, 482 KB,

Please contact FEMA directly for questions pertaining to the use of these forms.

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