SEATTLE, Wash. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is releasing preliminary flood risk maps to communities in Skagit County, Wash. The preliminary draft maps will help local officials and residents identify known flood risks, and when finalized, will be used for flood insurance, land use planning and development decisions. According to FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Dennis Hunsinger, the preliminary maps revise and update information on the existence and severity of flood hazards in Anacortes, Burlington, Concrete, Hamilton, La Conner, Lyman, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley, as well as unincorporated areas of Skagit County.
“The study that produced these maps is one of the most comprehensive ever conducted in the Pacific Northwest,” said Hunsinger. “We used the best topographic data, revised hydrologic analyses by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the most sophisticated hydraulic model available.”
Colonel Anthony Wright, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Seattle District concurs. "We've worked very closely with our federal partners and local communities to provide the best flood data available," said Wright. "The Corps' hydraulic engineers spent two years on intensive modeling of the basin, and our data was reviewed by federal experts to ensure the highest level of quality and confidence in the FEMA maps.”
Flood zone changes are proposed for the areas along the Skagit River, North Fork Skagit River and South Fork Skagit River. The revised maps are based on detailed ground elevation models, decades of rainfall and storm gauge information, and current topographic data.
After officials have had 30 days to study the preliminary maps, FEMA will assist with a comprehensive public awareness campaign and a series of open houses to explain the ramifications of the new maps. At the conclusion of the public outreach process, a series of legal notices will begin a 90-day appeal period through which residents and property owners who believe the proposed flood maps contain errors can submit additional scientific or technical information through their community officials to FEMA. Once all appeals are resolved, FEMA will make any necessary updates and notify communities, insurance companies and residents of the effective date of the final maps.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.