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Flood Protection


East Providence and all other Rhode Island cities and towns participate the NFIP, which allows residents and business owners to purchase Federally-backed flood insurance. Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program, which includes clear and detailed information on this program.


The City's Emergency Management Agency is available to answer questions on the National Flood Insurance Program, and can help you to determine whether your property is in a "Special Flood Hazard Area" (SFHA, also known as the 100-Year Floodplain), which specific zone it's in, and the area's "base flood elevation". In some cases, we can supply flood depths of the "100-year flood" at your property, and we can offer advice on flood mitigation options. We can also answer questions regarding other natural hazards, flood-related or not.

The City maintains copies of FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps (hereafter, “flood maps”) which officially display the City’s Special Flood Hazard Areas. The flood maps are available for viewing in the Planning & Economic Development Department in Room 309 (3rd floor) of City Hall. Help with interpreting these maps is available in the Planning & Economic Development Department and also at the Building Inspection and Engineering Division in Room 204.

Official FEMA flood maps for the City can be viewed online using the FEMA Map Service Center. Just type your address into the box and view or download the map. You can also view a larger-scale flood map for the entire city, centered on City Hall. 

RIEMA has mapped out inundation zones for the entire state including East Providence.  

Click here for the East Providence Hurricane Inundation Map

FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers worked with the City to produce the East Providence Hurricane Evacuation Map (linked immediately below) based on the potential for tidewater flooding resulting from a direct hit from hurricanes of Categories 1, 2, 3 or 4. This looks very similar to the "Inundation" map, but the "Evacuation" zones are a little bigger to account for areas that may become isolated due to flooding.

Click here for the East Providence Evacuation Zone Map


The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) has an interactive floodplain map that works for the entire state. The Floodplain Mapping Tool enables users to zoom into their neighborhood scale and find the flood zones in their area. 


Elevation Certificates are used to obtain the elevation of a building to determine whether it is within the floodplain and, if so, by how much. That information figures into the price of flood insurance for a property. If an elevation certificate has been prepared for your property, you may be able to obtain a copy from the property's developer or from the City's EMA or Engineering Offices. If an elevation certificate is not available and you need one, contact a licensed land surveyor to prepare one for you. The cost of this service varies by location; get a few quotes if possible and compare.


The primary causes of flooding for the City are prolonged heavy rainfall from large storms; torrential short-term rainfall from thunderstorms; snowmelt, often accompanied by heavy rain; and rainfall, coastal storm surges or both from tropical storms and hurricanes. The City has experienced property damage, loss of life, power outages, and interruption of transportation and communication systems from flooding. Coastal storm surges from hurricanes, while extremely infrequent, present the single most serious flood threat for the City. The 1938 Hurricane and Hurricane Carol in 1954 both caused devastating storm surges.

The record flooding of March 2010 illustrated what can be expected during a widespread heavy rainfall and river flooding event in the city. Among these problems are flooded basements, surface flooding in areas that drain poorly, disruption of utility service due to flooded electrical boxes, and disruption of transportation due to flooded roadways.

The following areas throughout the City have been identified as having a history of flooding that has been caused by major rainstorms, tropical storms, thunderstorms, and rapid snowmelt.

  • Residential and commercial area located north of Waterman Avenue, east of Rockaway Avenue, and west of Seekonk, Massachusetts border due to the flooding of the Runnins River (commonly referred to as the State Street neighborhood)
  • Commercial area at the intersection of Commercial Way and Taunton Avenue due to a combination of heavy rains, low elevation, and poor drainage.
  • Residential, private country club, and open space areas located along the Ten Mile River, either side of Pawtucket Avenue, east of North Broadway and north of Centre Street, including the Agawam/Fynn Playground, due to the flooding along the Ten Mile River. This includes a portion of Pawtucket Avenue itself, a primary north-south artery in the City.
  • Commercial area along Newport Avenue between Moore Street and Vista Drive due to local poor drainage of heavy rainfall.
  • Corner of Ferris Avenue and Circle Street due to local poor drainage of heavy rainfall.
  • Western part of Dewey Avenue near North Broadway due to local poor drainage of heavy rainfall.
  • Residential area located between Grosvenor Avenue and I-195, west of North Hull Street,
    and east of North Rose Street due to undersized drainage lines located under I-195.
  • Portion of Pawtucket Avenue in front of Bayview Academy due to local poor drainage of
    heavy rainfall.
  • Veterans Memorial Parkway adjacent to Watchemoket Cove from tidal flooding.
  • The intersection of South Broadway and Lee Road.
  • Sabin Point Park and immediate surrounding area due to storm-driven high tides.
  • Residential area along west shoreline of Bullocks Cove, and Crescent View Avenue in the area of the cove,due to storm-driven high tides.
  • Residential and commercial area east of Willett Avenue, south of Forbes Street, and north of Barrington town line due to flat terrain, poor drainage, and high water tables. 



The National Flood Insurance Program requires that all structures within a designated 100-year flood zone (in East Providence, Flood Zone VE and AE) be brought into compliance with current building standards if there is substantial damage to the structure, regardless of the cause, or if substantial improvements are added. They are defined as follows.

"Substantial damage" means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

"Substantial improvement" means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other proposed new development of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds fifty percent of the market value of the structure before the "start of construction" of the improvement. This term includes structures that have incurred "substantial damage", regardless of the actual repair work performed.

Requirements for a structure to be in compliance include: anchoring the structure against movement by floodwaters, the foundation must be resistant to flood forces and be constructed of flood-resistant materials, the lowest floor must be flood-proofed (not permitted for residential structures) or elevated so the enclosed space is at least one foot above the level of the 100-year flood, and all utilities must be resistant to flood damage.

FEMA Substantial Damage/Substantial Improvement Desk Reference


The US Geological Survey maintains a river gage along the Ten Mile River at Pawtucket Avenue. 

The City is working with the USGS and the National Weather Service in determining levels of flooding relative to the readings from the streamgage. We have found that when the “Gage Height” is over 6 feet and rising, there is a likelihood of minor flooding in the State Street Neighborhood. For reference, the historic March 2010 floods featured a maximum Gage Height of about 12 feet.

Last Updated: Tue, 05/23/2023 - 10:03am