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Hazard Vulnerability

The 2019 Flood Risk Report (FRR) for Dorchester County provides non-regulatory Flood Risk information to help local officials, floodplain managers, planners, emergency managers, and others better understand their flood risk, take steps to mitigate those risks, and communicate those risks to their citizens and local businesses. 

The Flood Risk Maps presented in Appendix A of the FRR shows a variety of flood risk information in the county. High-Risk Areas are places in the county that have a large amount of flood damage in a relatively small, concentrated area. High-Risk Areas are created by grouping together adjacent Census Blocks with high flood loss estimations. A total of 6 high risk areas were identified within Dorchester County.  High risk areas are depicted below.

Pages from Dorchester County MD - Flood

The Cambridge Tide Gauge is located on the Bill Burton Fishing Pier (SE of US-50 bridge on the South side of the Choptank River). The tide gauge was installed on May 5, 1997.  To review  tide gauge data, please click here.

Cambridge Tide Gauge.jpg

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) uses fifteen (15) U.S. Census variables to calculate SVI scores that can help local officials identify communities within the county that may need additional support before, during, and/or after disasters. 


An important aspect relating to the health, safety, and welfare of Dorchester County’s communities is social vulnerability. Dorchester County recognizes that identifying socially vulnerable populations is an important step in mitigating for natural disaster events. According to the CDC, social vulnerability refers to “the negative effects on communities caused by external stresses on human health. Such stresses include natural or human-caused disasters, or disease outbreak.” Reducing social vulnerability can decrease both human suffering and economic loss.


The CDC developed a Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) to help local jurisdictions determine their level of vulnerability based on fifteen (15) indicators that are routinely utilized to measure social vulnerability. These indicators are as follows:


  • Socioeconomic Status

  1. Below Poverty

  2. Unemployed

  3. Income

  4. No High School Diploma

  • Household Composition & Disability

  1. Aged 65 or Older

  2. Aged 17 or Younger

  3. Civilian with a Disability

  4. Single-Parent Households

  • Minority Status & Language

  1. Minority

  2. Speaks English “Less than Well”

  • Housing Type & Transportation

  1. Multi-Unit Structures

  2. Mobile Homes

  3. Crowding

  4. No Vehicle

  5. Group Quarters


The SVI has been conducted for Dorchester County at the census tract level and is mapped below. The SVI utilizes ACS 5-year estimates. The SVI results have been mapped alongside hazard events to aid in determining areas of concern where hazard mitigation activities might make the most sense due to increased vulnerability. Areas of concern are locations where high social vulnerability and  hazards overlap.  Measuring social vulnerability at the census tract level is meant to help guide further planning. Investigation at the neighborhood level is required to fully identify vulnerable populations.


The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed 2 tornado touchdowns in Dorchester County in 2021. Tornados were associated with Tropical depression Ida and were reported on August 31, and September 1, 2021. An EF-0 tornado touched down just southwest of Hurlock at about 4:45 p.m. on September 1, 2021. A tornado warning issued around 5 p.m. advised residents a confirmed tornado had been located near Federalsburg or Hurlock moving northeast at 25 mph. As a result of the tornadoes, structural damage, partial removal of the roof to one commercial property, two road closures, and downed electrical lines at scattered sites were reported.


Tornado touches down near Hurlock in Dorchester County, Maryland.

Source: Photo by Ashley Parker.  9/1/2021

The Chesapeake Bay Flood Event impacted Dorchester County residents from October 29-31, 2021.  Tidal flooding was forecasted to be 5.2 feet above the normal level during the tidal cycle. A shelter was opened on the 29th at the Cambridge South Dorchester High School for citizens in floodprone areas. Egress routes in southern communities, such as Crapo, Crocheron, Toddville, Wingate, Bishops Head, and Andrews were still covered by water on November 1st.  Dorchester County provided dumpsters at multiple locations to assist residents with cleanup. 

Taylors Island flooding_2021.jpg
Crapo flooding_2021.jpg

Left Picture: Flooding in Taylors Island, October 29, 2021. Right Picture: Flooding in Crapo, October 30, 2021.


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