DENTON, Texas -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently presented draft flood risk maps to communities in Ascension Parish, La.—an area that floods frequently. The maps will help county officials and local residents identify known flood risks and will be used for insurance and development decisions in the fast growing area.
The preliminary maps revise and update information on the existence and severity of flooding hazards in the cities of Donaldsonville and Gonzales, the Town of Sorrento, and the unincorporated area of the Parish. They are based on detailed ground elevation models, decades of rainfall and storm gauge information and current topographic data. The most detailed part of the study focused on areas of projected development or proposed construction.
“Ascension Parish suffers damage from major flooding on a regular basis. Because it is one of the fastest growing parishes in the state, it is critical for residents to look at the preliminary maps and be familiar with flood risks in their community,” said William Peterson, FEMA regional director. “These maps can help residents make informed decisions about flood insurance and flood protection.”
Residents and property owners who believe the flood maps contain errors have 90 days from April 20th to appeal by submitting scientific or technical information. Appeals are submitted through communities to FEMA, and once all appeals are resolved, FEMA will notify communities, insurance companies and residents of the effective date of the final maps.
Floodplain administrators in each community have copies of the maps available for public viewing. In addition, the maps can be accessed on the parish government website at www.ascensionparish.net. When the flood maps are finalized and effective, some flood insurance policy holders may see changes in their policies. Peterson recommends that all policyholders contact their insurance agent or company to ensure that they have adequate coverage and that policies account for new flood risk information. More information on flood insurance is available at www.floodsmart.gov.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.