Flood Information

Weather Stations - Current Conditions & Weather Forecast

Drainage, Flooding, & Tides

Flood Protection Information and News Regarding Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Bethany Beach


Many areas in the Town of Bethany Beach are low lying and/or are located in Special Hazard Flood areas (SHFA) and are prone to flooding  during storms and heavy rains.

Most areas lying north of Garfield Parkway (Route 26) and east of Route 1 are in coastal AE and AO zones.  Properties fronting on the ocean may be in a Coastal V and/or AO zones.  Areas west of Route 1, specifically in Bethany West and Turtle Walk have recently been added to the SHFA and are in an AE zone.  If you are in a SHFA, you should know about services available to you and how to protect yourself and your property from flooding.



The Town of Bethany Beach offers the following services:

  1. Flood Maps and information have been provided to the South Coastal Library and are available for review.
  2. The Building Department, located on the first floor of Town Hall also has current Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and can assist with determining a site’s FIRM zone and the base flood elevation or depth. The Building Inspector can be reached at 302-539-8780.
  3. Handouts from FEMA concerning questions about the National Flood Insurance Program are available from the Building Department.
  4. Completed elevation certificates for buildings in Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) constructed in the floodplain since 1992 are on file in the Building Department.


The Town of Bethany Beach uses the CodeRED Emergency Notification System which includes the feature CodeRED Weather Warning. The CodeRED Weather Warning will automatically call citizens when severe weather (tornado, flash flood, and severe thunderstorm) warnings are issued by the National Weather Service for your address. The CodeRED Weather Warning System calls only when warnings are issued and only if your address is in the path of the storm. Bethany Beach residents can also sign up for CodeRED Weather Warning while signing up for CodeRED. Citizens can sign up on the Town’s web site using this link - Town of Bethany Beach CodeRED.

If requested, the Building Inspector and/or the Director of the Public Works Department will visit a property to review its flood problems and explain ways to prevent flood damage. The Building Inspector can be reached at 302-539-8780. Public Works can be reached at 302-539-1339.


The Town of Bethany Beach participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and flood insurance is available at a reduced rate to all homeowners in the Bethany Beach area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved a 10 percent rate reduction on the cost of flood insurance for all properties in Special hazard Flood areas in the town. The Town of Bethany Beach received the NFIP rate reduction for implementing measures aimed at reducing property damage caused by flooding and increasing public awareness of flood risk.

Bethany Beach received a Class 8 rating on the NFIP’s Community Rating System. The Community Rating System is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes community floodplain management activities that exceed minimum program requirements. Contact the Town Building Department for additional information.


In order to prevent flood damage, all development in the floodplain is required to meet current National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) standards for flood proofing and all new work is required to first obtain a building permit from the Town. Those properties located ocean front may also be required to submit plans and an application to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Controls (DNREC) for review and approval. Building permit applications can be found on the Town’s website.


Existing buildings with proposed “substantial improvements” or repair of “substantial damage” are also required to be brought into compliance with NFIP requirements for new construction.

Substantial improvement is defined as any combination of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvement of a structure taking place during the ten-year period immediately preceding the date the permit application is

submitted, the cumulative cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the reasonably estimated market value of the structure before the improvement or repair is started. This term includes structures which have incurred “Substantial Damage”, regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state and local health, sanity or safety code specifications which have been identified prior to the application for a development permit by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions.

Substantial damage is defined as damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damage condition would equal or exceed 50%of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.


Town of Bethany Beach website – www.townofbethanybeach.com

The Town code is available from this site and Chapter 453. Flood Damage Prevention contains definitions and information related to construction in flood prone areas.

NFIP Insurance Information - www.floodsmart.gov

You are able to search for an insurance agent, learn about risk and see what flood damage really costs.

FEMA – www.fema.gov

This is FEMA’s website used to get the most recent Flood Insurance Rate Map and Flood Insurance Study information throughout the nation. Available non-regulatory Flood Risk Products can also be downloaded from here.

Ready.gov – www.ready.gov

The online tool created to assist everyone in creating a ready kit for evacuation from home or work.

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control – www.dnrec.delaware.gov


On March 16, 2015, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) adopted new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM’s) for all coastal areas in Sussex County.

The new maps for the Town of Bethany Beach show significant changes.

Approximately 80% of the Town is now located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) uses the 100-Year Flood as the basis for mapping, setting insurance rates and applying regulations to minimize future flood damage. The 100 year flood has a 1% chance of occurring or being exceeded each year. Properties in the Town are located in the following SHFA zones:

  • VE Zones – (also referred to as Coastal High Hazard) SFHA zones located ocean front and more restrictive construction practices are mandatory.
  • AO Zones – SFHA zones where flood depth is 1-3 feet and typical of areas landward of the dune line. Minimal AO zones exist east of Route 1.
  • AE Zones – SFHA zones where engineered analysis has produced detailed flood elevations and boundaries.

Those that have compliant structures should be receiving a 10% discount on their flood insurance. The Town participates in the Community Rating System and has achieved a class 8 rating which yields a 10% discount through FEMA. Please check your policies to see if you are getting the discount. If you are not getting any discount, you may wish to contact the Town of Bethany Beach Building inspector at 302-539-8780 for assistance to help you gain compliance. Websites for locating your property in the floodplain can be found here:

DNREC Flood Planning