Education & Outreach

Flood Risk Awareness & Management

Public Works Surface Water Management partners with the Public Works Road Maintenance and Solid Waste divisions, the Department of Emergency Management, Planning and Development Services, and the Sheriff's Office to provide an array of flood awareness / preparedness information and technical assistance year around, as well as emergency response services during flood emergencies.

The county maintains a series of river and stream gages that provide key information for citizens on river and stream levels and flood status. Links to these river gages, as well as some in adjacent counties, are provided on the Real Time Flood Warning Information page, which is updated every 15 minutes.

Flood Preparedness Information Distributed

The county emphasizes preparedness throughout the year, as there are more than 9,000 households within the 222 square miles of floodplain in Snohomish County.

Our annually updated Flood Guide (PDF) was mailed on October 15, 2013 to all households within Special Flood Hazard Areas, as delineated on Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The Flood Guide provides up-to-date information on flood preparedness, protection, mitigation, and recovery.

It is available at:

Outreach to Residents in Flood Prone Areas

Prior to 2013, properties that carried federal flood insurance had at least two paid flood losses of more than $1,000 each in any 10-year period since 1978 were known within the National Flood Insurance Program as "Repetitive Loss Properties." The cause of the flooding often affects more than one property.

Concentrations of these properties are known as "repetitive loss areas." The county sends a letter (PDF) to homeowners in these areas to discuss ways to prepare for and protect from flooding, and obtain flood insurance.

The definition of a repetitive loss property has changed with the implementation of the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The county's future outreach to flood-prone areas will reflect this updated characterization. The new definition FEMA has adopted is:

A repetitive loss property is a structure covered by a contract for flood insurance made available under the NFIP that:

  • Has incurred flood-related damage on two occasions, in which the cost of the repair, on the average, equaled or exceeded 25 percent of the market value of the structure at the time of each such flood event; and
  • At the time of the second incidence of flood-related damage, the contract for flood insurance contains increased cost of compliance coverage.

Outreach to Realtors, Lenders & Insurance Brokers

Snohomish County also sends a letter annually to local realtors, lenders, and insurance carriers to let them know what type of information is available to them concerning Special Flood Hazard Areas. All federally insured lending institutions must require flood insurance of borrowers for properties located within SFHAs.

Additional flood zone information can be found on FEMA's website, as well as at the Sno-Isle Libraries.