NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia’s Flood Awareness Week is March 14 – 20, and Norfolk kicked off the week by launching a new online tool to help residents better visualize their property’s risk in a flood.

 The Flood Risk Learning Center, co-developed by Civis Analytics and the city’s floodplain staff, is a new, interactive website. When a resident accesses the tool, they are asked to enter their property address, then use a slide bar to identify the ground level.

Once the flood assessment is complete, the resident can download a copy of the report.

The online tool has been integrated with property-specific data, including photo depictions of the true flood depths for nearly all 56,754 homes in the city.

In addition to visualizing the property’s flood risk, the site also showcases ways to protect their property ahead of this year’s hurricane season, which begins June 1, 2021.

The city says one of the most important steps residents can take to prepare today is to obtain flood insurance, either through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private carrier. Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover damage caused by floods.

“Just one inch of water in a home can cause up to $25,000 in damages, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” said George Homewood, Director of Norfolk’s Planning Department. “Flood insurance can mean the difference between recovering and being financially devastated.”

Because Norfolk participates in the NFIP, all residents are eligible for flood insurance, even if they don’t live in a high-risk flood zone.

Keep in mind that flood insurance policies take at least a month before they take effect, so the city is encouraging resident to prepare now.

To access the new Flood Risk Learning Center, click here.