What is the Base Flood Elevation (BFE)?

The Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is the elevation below which areas are at risk of flooding for the 100-year flood event.  The current BFE for the 100-year flood event for the Skokie River is 625.3 NAVD 1988, which is generally consistent throughout the limits of Winnetka (between Hill Road and the northern Village Limits), but does vary south of Hill Road. The BFE and Flood Zone Designation for Lake Michigan have recently undergone revisions. Based upon the results of the Great Lakes Coastal Flood Study, FEMA has revised the BFE for Lake Michigan to a variable BFE ranging from 587 to 594 NAVD 1988, depending upon where the property is situated along the lake front in Winnetka. The Flood Zone Designation will also change from Zone AE to Zone VE, which is a coastal flood zone that takes into account wave action. 

Any grade that is equal to or below this elevation is considered in the floodplain, when tributary to that floodplain.  This elevation is referenced from the North American Vertical Datum (NAVD) of 1988.  

Show All Answers

1. What is the 100-year flood plain?
2. What regulations must be followed for construction within and adjacent to the flood plain?
3. What is the Base Flood Elevation (BFE)?
4. What is the Flood Protection Elevation (FPE)?
5. When is my house considered in the flood plain?
6. My property was never in the flood plain before, why is it in the flood plain now?
7. When do I need to buy flood insurance?
8. Can I build in the flood plain?
9. Are there any restrictions for construction for homes adjacent to the 100-year flood plain?
10. What are the criteria for being able to construct a new home with a basement in the 100-year flood plain?
11. Can I make improvements to my existing home in the flood plain?
12. What is compensatory storage?
13. How can I find out if my property is located within the flood plain?