How does flood risk to commercial properties affect the community?

Learn about the relationship between the number of commercial properties at risk and the risk to the community.

Flood damage to a commercial property can impact day to day life within a community and may impact the overall economic well-being of an area. Flood risk to commercial properties directly and indirectly threatens quality of life, access to and the ability to work, and general safety within a community. The Community Risk section can help convey risk to commercial properties in the surrounding community, ranking those risks from “minimal” to “extreme”. 

How is flood risk to commercial properties determined?

To determine commercial risk of flooding, the number of commercial properties at risk are calculated and compared to the total number of properties within that location to determine the area’s proportion of commercial properties at risk. That location is then compared to similar geographies across the country and represented as Minimal, Minor, Moderate, Major, Severe or Extreme risk. 

Commercial risk is based on property Flood Factors. Flood Factors 1-10 risk rating is a comprehensive assessment that includes a property's cumulative, probabilistic thirty-year risk of flooding from high intensity rainfall, overflowing rivers and streams, high tides, and storm surge. A commercial property’s Flood Factor is determined by its likelihood of flooding and the potential depth of that flood. Flood Factor scores also take into account the risk-mitigating effects of levees, dams, open spaces, and other adaptation measures

The First Street Foundation Flood Model includes publicly available and 3rd party data to identify property boundaries and building footprints. A property boundary is the outline of the individual lot of land, while building footprints refer to the outline(s) of commercial building structures on a property. Along with elevation data, this information is used to determine the likelihood of water on the ground reaching the lowest point of a building’s footprint.

Flood Factor also takes into account how flood risks are likely to change over the next 30 years due to our changing environment. This means even a commercial property that hasn’t flooded in the recent past may still face flood risk in the future.


Learn more

How does the number of residential properties at risk in my community affect me?

How is my Flood Factor calculated? 

How to use the Community Risk map overview 

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