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Every year millions of Californians are at risk from flooding along thousands of miles of streams, rivers, lakes and coastline. Floods can bring devastating impacts to regions, communities and individuals: lives lost, flooded homes, damaged businesses and crops, displaced population, lost jobs and income, and damaged ecosystems. No one can predict when and where floods will occur. In some years there will be no flooding, while in other years there may be very large floods. But hydrologic engineers and other experts can estimate, using rainfall records, river stage (water surface elevation) observations, and other data collected over a long period of time, the likelihood of annual flood flows and stages that could occur in any particular location.

This flood information can be used to estimate average annual damage—the damage, expressed in dollars, that flooding may cause in a specific location in any given year. If you live, work, or own property in a flood-prone area, you can use knowledge of average annual damage to:

Be better informed about the flood risk to you, your family, and your property.
Consider the costs versus benefits of various options to reduce your personal flood risk.
Help determine whether to purchase flood insurance.

Be PreparedBuy Flood InsurancePrevent ProblemsProtect Your Property