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Flood Information

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Flooding in Novato

Most consider the danger of earthquakes and fires when living in California, but few realize the potential for flooding. Perhaps you consider flooding to only be a problem in the Midwest, by the mighty Mississippi and all its tributaries, but flooding is also a danger in the city of Novato. During the rainy season, even the relatively small creeks of Novato can overflow and flood the heart of our city. Below is a picture of the extent of flooding in central Novato during the rains of 1982.

Downtown Novato During 1982 Flooding

Novato has a number of creeks and tributaries that are susceptible to flooding during heavy rains, posing a threat to safety and property. Over 5,000 acres within Novato are designated as being in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Properties upstream of the confluence of Novato, Warner and Arroyo Avichi Creeks have been particularly susceptible to flooding. Heavy rains in 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989 and 1998 caused flooding and damage to buildings in these areas. Other areas with high flood danger include Ignacio, Arroyo San Jose, and Vineyard Creeks, as well as the Bahia area. However, your property need not be located in the SFHA to sustain flood damage. When drainage courses or storm drains become clogged, they will backup and overflow causing property damage to even upland structures.  

 Downtown Novato During 1982 Flooding

To find out whether or not your property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area, or if you have any questions about the flood hazard in Novato, please contact the City of Novato Public Works Department by phone at (415) 899-8246, in person at 922 Machin Avenue, or by email at The City can provide information about the location of your property in relation to the flood zone, Elevation Certificates, flood maps, flood safety and flood preparedness information. Please check our calendar for closed dates before coming in.

To help you learn more about the flood hazard in Novato, and what you can do about it, the City has available online more information to assist you in being prepared for flooding in Novato.

  • Please learn more about Flood Insurance because homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover you for flood damage.
  • You can also learn more about What You Can Do to keep your life and property safe in a flood.
  • Also, learn about the Floodplain and Regulations that help protect you from losses in a flood situation.
  • To help you get an idea of where the highest risk of flooding in Novato is, excerpts from the National Flood Insurance Rate Map are also available online.


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