The City of Kinston recognizes the danger of flooding, and has taken many steps to protect its citizens and their property. Kinston currently coordinates with Lenoir County Emergency Management during flooding emergencies and maintains GIS maps of Kinston that show areas prone to flooding.
To read a history of Hurricane Matthew and the City of Kinston’s response to the increasing need for flood resiliency visit our Flood Prevention-Hurricane Matthew page.
The City of Kinston also participates in the National Floodplain Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System, a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. This is a point system program that reduces flood insurance premiums for the citizens of participating communities. The City’s current CRS rating is a Class 7 (the lower the better). This classification means Kinston residents in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) with flood insurance receive a 15% reduction on flood insurance premiums.
Below are links to information about the NFIP and flood resources before, during, and after a storm.
Before You Flood--Preparation Activities and Resources
- Am I In the Floodplain?
- Getting Flood Insurance
- Flood Protection Information Directory
- Flood Preparation for Your Family
- Before You Build
- Protect Natural Floodplain Functions
The source of flooding concern in the City of Kinston is the Neuse River. Areas in the floodplain can flood with water during severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, nor’easters, or other large rain events. Find out if you are in the flood plain by:
- Searching your address on the published Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM)
- Calling the Planning Department at 252-939-3269 or 252-939-3271
Standard property insurance does not cover flood damage. If your home is located in a federally-designated floodplain, your mortgage company will require that you have flood insurance. If there is a mapped floodplain on your property, it should be shown on your property survey.
The City of Kinston participates in the National Floodplain Mapping Program, thus flood insurance and federal assistance, such as mortgage loans and grants, are available. The National Flood Insurance Program allows property owners to buy federally-backed flood insurance within participating communities. In return for this protection, communities enact measures to reduce flood risks to new development. Federally-backed flood insurance is available for all buildings in participating communities, whether the buildings are in a regulated floodplain or not. Flood insurance covers direct losses caused by surface flooding. There is a thirty-day waiting period for a flood insurance policy to become effective, so the time to act is now.
The agent who helps you with your homeowners or renters insurance may be able to help you with purchasing flood insurance too. You can only purchase flood insurance through an insurance agent; you cannot buy it directly from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If your insurance agent does not sell flood insurance, contact the National Flood Insurance Program’s Help Center at 1-800-427-4661 to request an agent referral.
- FloodSmart.gov(resources for flood insurance, how to file claims, and protective steps to take before and after a flood)
- Elevate your home if possible-- Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House
- Reducing Damage From Localized Flooding @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
- TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN
- Heed all flood warnings and notices
- Download the NC Ready App
- Download the FEMA mobile app (real time alerts, emergency safety tops, locate emergency shelter)
- Use the Are You Ready? website to make your own Disaster Preparedness kit with food, water, supplies, and copies of crucial documents
- Store valuables in dry containers or storage
- Make an evacuation plan and designate a safe place to meet with loved ones in the case of an emergency @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
ALWAYS acquire building permits and floodplain permits for all development. Use licensed contractors at all times.
If you are considering building in Kinston, check to see if your property is in the floodplain. If so, get a Floodplain Development permit from the Planning Department page and submit it to the Planning Director, Elizabeth Blount.
Article 9 Part IX of Kinston's Unified Development Ordinance describes the rules and regulations of the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinances. Read and follow the instructions if you intend to build or substantially improve your building.
Each situation is different, but there are several methods for you to consider in order to reduce losses at your location including: flood-proofing non-residential buildings, elevating your building so that the lowest floor is two feet or more above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), demolishing and rebuilding your structure, or purchasing property outside of the floodplain.
The more we learn about flooding and floodplain management, the more we understand how important it is to protect natural floodplain functions. Preserving natural areas in and around the Neuse River can protect residents, prevent damage to property, and support local wildlife. The following are informational resources and strategies about how we can reduce flood damage by preserving the natural floodplain
- Protecting Floodplain Resources is a FEMA resource written to introduce officials and citizens at the local level to a basic understanding of natural resources in floodplains and to offer suggestions for creating strategies for wisely managing these important areas.
- Neuse River Basin Hazard Mitigation Plan (2017) is a collaboration between Lenoir, Greene, Jones, Pitt, and Wayne Counties to create a plan for reducing the impact of disasters that happen to all residents living near the Neuse River basin.
- Neuse River Basin Flood Analysis and Mitigation Strategies Study (2018) is an updated study of the Neuse River Basin hazards and strategies to reduce the impact of disasters.
- The City of Kinston has an ordinance that prevents dumping any fluid, gas, trash, or other substance into our stormwater structures or streams. Keep our streams clear of debris and trash, to allow water to flow more easily during heavy rain events.
During the Flood
- Declaring a State of Emergency
- Who's in Charge?
- Resources During Flooding
- Neuse River Level Real Time
Federal, state, and local governments can all declare states of emergency in times of crisis
Local: The city council or mayor, or county commissioners or their board chair, can declare a state of emergency. This triggers emergency powers and the local emergency operations plans. It also legally imposes measures like evacuations and curfews. Finally, it can be a requirement for receiving state and federal reimbursement for emergency-related expenses.
State: A state of emergency can be declared by the Governor or the General Assembly. This declaration speeds up the use of state resources to help local areas.
Federal: A state or tribal government can ask for a state of emergency declaration when they determine that the damage of a disaster is beyond their capacity to handle. Only then can the President declare a state of emergency. Once the state of emergency is declared, the federal government can provide Public Assistance, Individual Assistance, and Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs.
The Lenoir County Emergency Management Division runs the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during emergencies to coordinate agencies to best support all Lenoir County citizens. The Emergency Operations Plan describes the chain of command and procedures the EOC goes through during an emergency. During an emergency you can go to the Lenoir County Emegency Services Facebook page or @LenoirCountyES on Twitter for updates.
The designated Emergency Coordinator, Planning Director Adam Short, and City Manager Tony Sears are responsible for coordinating city emergency response efforts. During an emergency, you can go to the City of Kinston Facebook page or @KinstonEOC on Twitter.
- Call 911
- Go to a shelter location, listed on multiple news sources, listed below
- City of Kinston Facebook page or @KinstonEOC on Twitter
- Neuse News, Kinston Free Press, WITN
- When traveling, remember: Turn Around, Don't Drown @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
See the level of the Neuse River in real time here at https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=mhx&gage=kinn7 .
Moderate flood stage of the Neuse River is at 13.5ft, and a major flood stage begins at 19.5ft.
After the Flood-Immediate Resources
Monitor local news sources and emergency communications (see the above tab "Resources During Flooding") for general information about when a flood hazard or storm hazard has ended. If you have specific questions regarding your address, call the Planning Department at 252-939-3269 and they will answer according to the information available.
- American Red Cross Eastern NC locations
- FEMA Financial Assistance After Disasters (Disaster Food Stamps, Emergency Assistance with Utility Bills, Disaster Unemployment Assistance)
- Register for assistance at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov and apply for assistance with shelter and immediate needs @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
Even if you were not affected by the storm, you may be interested in supporting your neighbors in other ways.The NC Commission on Volunteerism and Public Service provides opportunities (some disaster specific) to volunteer in local communities.
Where Do We Go From Here?- Long Term Recovery and Resilience
- FEMA Resources for Kinston and Lenoir County
- The City of Kinston Planning Department can provide information about your flood risk, obtaining flood insurance, building regulations, property protection advice, protection advice after visiting your property, and financial assistance advice for protecting your home against future flood damage. See contact information at the bottom of the page. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
- NC Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) Disaster Recovery website(includes information about individual assistance, public assistance [nonprofits], buyout programs, and other hazard mitigation grants)
- NC Emergency Management Helpline: 919-825-3278
- ReBuild NC website
- Call NC 211 for information on a variety of resources @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>