Floodplains in Falls Church VA

Image from FEMA.gov © esri

Flood Plains in Falls Church

Flood plains are a part of every area, as the earth is filled with places that are more susceptible to flooding.

Falls Church has some area which are considered flood plains.

To check if a property is in a flood plain, see this section on FEMA maps.

Just because a property is NOT in a flood plain, does not mean that no flood or water risk exists. This is why it is important to get a home inspection to find out more about the drainage and grading of a property.

Heavy Rain Event

Update: July 8th, 2019 Flooding throughout the region. If you were not aware of floodplains in Falls Church before, you may be if you were in the area for a large rain like this.

July 8th saw a large amount of rainfall in a matter of hours, causing flash flood conditions throughout the areas.

Many of the floodplain areas in Northern Virginia were affected, and even areas that do not see flooding were hit with rushes of water.

Photos have been circling online showing many motorists stranded. The photo below from WTOP’s Dave Dildine sums up the dangerous situation that many drivers were faced with.


It serves as a reminder to be careful during floods. Many drivers were in the wrong place at the wrong time and had to get emergency assistants.

For your home, if it is ever affected by flooding and you have flood insurance, you can contact the FEMA helpline at 1-800-427-4661.

FEMA Flood Plain Maps

The FEMA maps can show you if you are in a floodplain, however many homes that were affected were outside of the zone.

If you have questions about Northern Virginia real estate, your home’s values or homes for sale feel free to reach out.

NOTE: Sometimes the FEMA map takes a little bit to load the floodplain over the map.

The website will allow you to enter your address of the home you are looking to purchase. Or if you are just looking to snoop around, anyone’s address. Then the site will give you a map like above if there is a floodplain.

This article talks about Falls Church VA floodplains. However, they exist all over the state. and the rest of the country.

Hands down the best resource to start is by looking at a FEMA map. You can look by address and see where the flood plains are in relation to your lot.

More About Floodplains

Floodplains can have an impact on cost of your insurance, home value, building a new home, additions, etc.

If you are building new in Falls Church, check out my new home guide.

Virginia is a “buyer beware” so having a good buyers agent to ask questions to will can make a huge difference.

So if you are buying a home in Northern VA, the seller does not need to disclose if the property is in a floodplain.

Contact me today if you have any more questions about real estate. Or comment below if I missed something I will add it to the blog to help your fellow homebuyers.

Home Buying and Floodplains

So you think you’ve found your dream home in Falls Church; that is until you hear that said dream home is located smack dab in the middle of a floodplain.

The stack of paperwork you have to fill out just got a bit higher.

Being in a floodplain does not mean you cannot buy the house, but it does mean you will want to get a bit more educated on what the process might entail.

For starters, what exactly a floodplain is.

They don’t teach you about floodplains and the insurance that comes with them before you start searching.

Floodplains are areas of low-lying ground, composed of river sediments, and are prone to flooding.

Floodplains typically consist of two main parts, the actual waterway is called the floodway, meaning the stream or river, in the case of Falls Church the main floodway is the Tripps Run Creek.

The second part of floodplains is the flood fringe, this is the area to which the flood would extend to if the floodway swelled to a certain level. These two areas create what is known as a floodplain.

Now, hearing the word ‘flood’ usually sends up some red flags, but you can still buy in a floodplain.

All houses are at risk of flooding, since flooding doesn’t result from any one event. The City of Falls Church has taken special care to ensure that its residents are perfectly safe and have protection from some of the rarest floods.

But despite these reassurances, you might have a few questions such as, how do I find out if my house is in a floodplain zone?

Floodplains can extend for miles, even if your home is located 5 or more miles away from the floodway your house can still be at risk.

So, before buying a home you should visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website and search your address, links above.

Flood Maps

On their website, you can find out if you house is located in a floodplain zone, and the severity of the potential flooding in that zone.

The closer your home is located to the floodway, the greater the risk is of your house experiencing flooding.

These areas are then broken up into zones so as to understand the risk of that particular region. The City of Falls Church has also provided maps on their website, which are found here.

Tripps Run Flood Plain

Tripps Run Creek lies west of Broad Street and is the largest floodplain zone in Falls Church. The area, in miles, of Tripps Run Creek is 2.24 as it extends out of Falls Church into Fairfax and empties out into Lake Barcroft.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has designed maps and created zones in and around the Falls Church floodplain to give a more detailed look at the risks and dangers around Tripps Run Creek.

In order to find out more about floodplains, employees of The City Of Falls Church are extremely helpful.

Specifically Matthew Hansen, a civil engineer who works in the Department of Public Works for Falls Church. Mr. Hansen was kind enough to answer a few questions about floodplains in Falls Church.

What do I need to do if my property is on a floodplain zone?

All homeowners should know their flood risk. Elevation Certificates are an excellent way to do that, but reviewing the flood map is a good start. www.floodsmart.gov has lots of good general floodplain information.

What have the government officials in Falls Church, Virginia done in relation to floodplains?

The City participates in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Community Rating System (CRS) program as a Class 7 community, which entitles floodplain residents to a 15% discount on flood insurance premiums and non-floodplain residents a 5% discount if they purchase flood insurance.

Now you’re reading this wondering what all of these titles mean, and how they relate to you finding and buying a home in Falls Church, VA.

Elevation Certificates

Elevation Certificates are a portion of the National Flood Insurance Program. These are used to certify building elevations.

The elevations are then used to determine insurance premium rates for the constructed building in question.

An Elevation Certificate is used by developers as well as local communities to ensure that all the buildings are in compliance with county, state, and federal ordinances. This includes commercial and residential.

These premiums take into account; the year your home was built, occupancy, number of floors, the flood risk itself, the deductible you chose. It also takes into account the amount of building and contents coverage.

It is important to know that if your home is located in a high risk flooding zone.

If you use a loan to obtain a property in a floodplain, more than likely you will need to buy flood insurance.

An important note, flood insurance is a separate entity and is not part of a standard homeowners insurance package.

Besides reviewing Elevation Certificates, the City of Falls Church also works with FEMA.

They do this to locate the portion of Falls Church that falls into a Special Floodplain Hazard Area. This ordinance is the base plan for a 100-year flood.

A 100-year flood is a term used to describe an area that has a 1% chance of flooding every year. Therefore, in the next one hundred years there is a significant chance of that specific area flooding.

FEMA is constantly working to update these statistics and has determined some zones around the country as 500-year floods.


Flood plains in Falls Church are prone to flooding (not exclusively, as flooding can happen in many areas depending on the weather) and the maps are controlled by FEMA and local jurisdictions.

If you are in a flood plain, the home will likely require special flood insurance by the lender, and it also may restrict/change the type of home you can build there if you choose to build.

Because Virginia is a buyer beware state, the seller does not need to disclose if the property is in a flood plain.

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Will Rodgers

Will Rodgers is a real estate expert, creator of this site and partner at the Alper Real Estate Group. Will has been sought after by many major publications for his expertise and creates sought after content for buyers, sellers and investors.