Hurricane Matthew: How To Get Flood Plain Maps – Forward Observer Shop

Hurricane Matthew: How To Get Flood Plain Maps

It’s a matter of days before Hurricane Matthew hits the Carolinas, so I want to point everyone in the direction where they can get some flood plain and hydrological maps and data.  (You can track and get the latest path information here.)

If your area is located in a flood prone area, then you should definitely have these maps in your Area Study binder.  Everyone should have an Area Study binder where this type of information is kept.

Without further ado, here’s the link:

Type in your zip code or city/state in the search box and hit ‘Search’.  It’s going to think for a second and then bring up a map.  Find your local map and save that map to your desktop.  Print it out and keep it in your binder.   (Example below.)

This map shows you the flood plains in the given area, broken up by depth zones.  Zone AE is the 100 year flood level.  It should give you some indication as to the flooding risk you may face.


1. Find your home on the map (as well as the home of your elderly parents, family and friends).

2. Find your workplace (may have to use another map) and your PACE (primary, alternate, contingency, emergency) routes for your commute (you may have to use several maps).  If you have to be at work (or out to rescue family) during the flooding, then you’ll need to know which routes are the least likely to be affected by the flooding.

3. Use this data to help plan for an emergency situation that you know is coming.


In the map above, we can clearly see that mobility may be negatively affected due to flooded roads.  Graduates of the SHTF Intelligence course will know how to create a map overlay for these scenarios and are likely to be much better prepared as a result.

You can also use FloodTools to map your flood risk.


I detail additional Intelligence Preparation of the Community tasks in the book SHTF Intelligence: An Intelligence Analyst’s Guide to Community Security.  This is a step-by-step guide to intelligence gathering, intelligence analysis, completing an Area Study, and finally setting up your own SHTF Intelligence section. –> SHTF Intelligence


10/5/16 UPDATE: Below is a map that shows predictions for power outages due to Hurricane Matthew.



Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.


  1. Thank you very much for your article much-needed Intel for most people. Very very concise and to the point.

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