Flooding is a fact of life in the Town of Horseheads.

Flood Hazards

Although Horseheads is located a safe distance from the Chemung River, it is subject to flooding from the following sources: 

  • Newtown Creek
  • Jackson Creek
  • Bannister Road Tributary
  • North Branch of Newtown Creek
  • Prospect Creek (also called Horseheads Creek)
  • Old Chemung Canal
  • Beaver Brook
  • Latta Brook
  • McCann's Tributary
  • Halderman Hollow Creek
  • Catherine Creek
  • Goldsmith Creek
  • May's Creek

Flooding can also result from local drainage problems.

Flood damages have occurred in the Town in 1972 (Hurricane Agnes), 1975 (Hurricane Eloise), 1993 (snowmelt following the "April blizzard"), 1994 (Hurricane Beryl), January 1996, and November 1996.

Flood Damages

Most of the flood damages in Horseheads have historically been sustained by the road system, but private property losses have occurred as well. Some of the areas subject to flooding are identified on the Town's Flood Insurance Rate Maps, which show areas expected to be inundated by the flood with a 1% probability of occurring in any given year (100-year flood) and the flood with a 0.2% probability of occurring in a year (500-year flood). Additional areas may also be at risk of flood damage due to obstructed flow, local drainage problems, erosion, or extreme events. Damage resulting from erosion of streambanks is a particular concern, with natural erosion processes accelerated during flood conditions.

Ongoing efforts to reduce future flood damage in the Town include stormwater management, floodplain management, stream dumping regulations, technical assistance with floodproofing measures, levee maintenance, and a flood warning system.

Flood Insurance

Flood Insurance can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program for any building in the Town of Horseheads. Because the Town participates in the Community Rating System program, properties in the Horseheads qualify for reduced insurance policy rates.

Property Protection Measures

Floodproofing: Protect your property from flood damage

Natural Flood Protection

Stream corridors, floodplains, and the entire watershed can provide naturally beneficial functions in regard to flooding, water quality, and channel stability.


Contact the Town Code Enforcement Office to report dumping in streams or illicit discharge violations at 607-739-7605.

Reporting Drainage Problems

Please report drainage issues regarding culverts, catch basins, creeks, and roadside ditches to the Highway Department at 607-739-2410.

Review Stream Processes.

Flood Warnings

Flood warning and effective flood response are the greatest defense against loss of life during a flood.


Floodplain Development Permits

A Floodplain Development Permit is required for any development within the special flood hazard area. Elevation Certificates are used to determine compliance and are available from the Town of Horseheads Code Enforcement Office at 150 Wygant Road, Horseheads, NY, or 607-739-7605.


  • Substantial Improvement Rule: If the cost of improvements exceeds 50% of the market value of the building, then the entire structure must be brought up to current floodplain management standards.
  • Substantial Damage Rule: If a floodplain structure is damaged by flood, fire, or any other cause and the cost to repair the damage exceeds 50% of the market value of the building before the damage occurred, then any repairs are considered a substantial improvement, regardless of the actual repair work performed.

Read information about floodplain development standards.

Flood Mitigation