Local Flood Hazards

Bath, NY, 1935

Flood damage is an ongoing problem in the Southern Tier Central region, as it has been throughout recorded history. The streams, rivers, and lakes are naturally subject to rising and falling water levels, as well as the erosive force of water. Unfortunately, development is concentrated in the broad river valleys, along lake shores, and in the narrower valleys cut by tributary streams. In these areas, the hazard of flooding is an environmental fact of life.

Flooding occurs naturally as part of the earth's hydrologic system. The list of historic floods in the STC region includes a couple of Pumpkin Floods, a Great Inundation, a Trememdous Flood, a couple of Big Floods, and many more. Flood-related damages occur in a variety of settings:

  • Riverine flooding occurs when streams and rivers overflow their banks and can be exacerbated by channel constriction or debris blockage.

  • Lake shore flooding can be compounded by waves that carry the water to higher elevations.

  • Overland flooding and ponding causes localized flooding problems when runoff is not carried in a defined channel and can be exacerbated by land use changes in uphill areas.

  • Groundwater can flood basements and contribute to septic system failure in areas with a shallow water table.

  • Erosion of streambanks and shorelines is a widespread problem in the STC region, with some streams moving 50 or more feet during a single storm event. The stability of stream systems can be affected by channel modifications and floodplain encroachments, particularly when these disturbances limit a stream's ability to overflow onto its floodplain.

    Regulated floodplain: The floodplain area that has a 1% or greater probability of being flooded in any given year has been mapped and is often referred to as the 100-year floodplain. Development activities within this area are regulated by the municipality to reduce the risk of flood damages. Approximate maps of this regulated floodplain can be viewed on the Southern Tier Central GIS Map Portal. Or print a FIRMette at the FEMA Map Service Center website. Maps are also available at municipal offices and County Planning Departments.

    Information sheets:

    Meandering Streams

    Private Stream Crossings

    Groundwater Flooding

    Local Flood Hazards:

    Flood Information Map of the STC region depicts regulated floodplains, historic flood levels, and floods of record.

    Detailed information about local flood hazards is included in Hazard and Flood Mitigation Plans. These plans have been developed by municipalities and counties as roadmaps for reducing future damages from flooding and other hazards.


  • STC Regional Planning & Development Board  8 Denison Parkway East Ste 310 Corning, NY 14830
    Phone 607.962.5092
    Fax 607.962.3400
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