The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) updates the Flood Insurance Rate Maps  (FIRMs) for the City of Johnson City.The current FIRMs for properties in the City were established in October 1996, and last revised in 2006.  

FEMA may periodically make changes to the floodplain boundaries through official letters of map revision flowing engineering studies of the site, fill, etc. 


The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides federally backed flood insurance in communities that adopt and enforce floodplain regulations to control development in flood hazard areas, and encourage flood loss reduction activities by communities and save taxpayers’ money.

The NFIP Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program in which communities are recognized, encouraged and rewarded through flood insurance premium adjustments for exceeding the minimum NFIP requirements in community floodplain management. The flood insurance premiums are discounted to reflect decreased flood risk resulting from such regulatory and other flood risk reduction actions of the community. The goals of the CRS to:

  •       Reduce and avoid flood damage to insurable property
  •       Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and
  •       Promote comprehensive floodplain management


The CRS premium reduction is a class system similar to the classification used for fire insurance, and is based on the floodplain management activities that a community implements. CRS Class 1 provides 45% premium reduction for properties in the special flood hazard area and 10% premium reduction for properties outside of the floodplain. A class 10 provides no reduction.

Johnson City joined the CRS Program in 2014, and is currently a Class 9, which gives 5% reduction in flood insurance premiums for properties in the floodplain and 5% flood insurance decrease for properties outside of the special flood hazard areas.


Most of the flooding events in Johnson City are flash floods that cause rainwater to inundate creeks in our community. The Watauga River is a major recreation and floodplain course. Due to the mountainous topography of the Appalachian Region, flash floods easily create hazardous fast moving water in roads creeks and ditches. Periodic ponding in specific areas also result from the flood events.

floodstreet flood

                FLOOD EVENT INUNDATED CREEK                                                   FLOODED STREET

The City of Johnson City is concerned about repetitive flooding and has an active program to help its citizens protect their properties from future flooding. Through the CRS Program, Johnson City enhances public safety, protects our community’s environment, decreases human suffering that can result from flood events, reduces damages to properties and public infrastructure, and minimizes economic disruptions and losses due to floods.

Apart from flood education, information dissemination, safety warning and response, mapping, and regulator standards enforcement to achieve the above benefits, Johnson City engages in other actions such as the buy-out and demolition of properties in the floodplain, and the conversion of such areas into community resource opportunities. Founders Park in Downtown Johnson City is one such flood management project that has significantly increased the economic vitality of Downtown and provided tremendous public arts and recreation opportunities in Johnson City.

To find out if your property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area contact the CRS Coordinator at 423.434.2962.