Seven streams run through the city, including: Bear, Griffin, Jackson, Horn, Daisy, Mingus, and Elk Creeks. Most originate in the surrounding mountains collecting water from surface runoff and groundwater seeps as they wind across the landscape making their way toward the Rogue River and eventually the Pacific Ocean. Normally, these streams can handle every day runoff; however, severe storm events, like the event that occurred in December and January 1997, caused streams to overflow their banks and innundate floodplain areas. Buildings and infrastructure were damaged during this event. These riverine flood hazards are mapped on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), which assign flood zones to every property in Central Point. Flood zones provide information about flood risk or the probability that a flood event will occur in any given year.
On the news we often hear about the 100-year flood, which is another way of saying a flood that has a 1% annual chance of occurrence. The 1% annual chance floodplain is a high risk flood hazard area also referred to as the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Likewise, the 500-year floodplain is another way of saying the land area with a 0.2% annual chance of experiencing a flood. The 0.2% annual chance floodplain has a lesser degree of occurring, but the magnitude of this event is much more severe. We consider this a low to moderate risk flood hazard area. It's important to carry flood insurance even if you live in a low to moderate risk flood hazard area, as more than 25% of all claims come from these flood zones.