Now Available! Access Your Community’s Preliminary Flood Hazard Data in One Centralized and Easily Accessible Location!
- What is Included in Preliminary Data?
- Where Can I Access Preliminary Data?
- What are the Benefits of Preliminary Data?
- Who Can View Preliminary Data?
- What is the Difference Between Preliminary and Effective Data?
- Are All Preliminary Data Available on the MSC?
Preliminary data provide the public an early look at their home or community’s projected risk to flood hazards. Preliminary data include: new or revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, and FIRM Databases.
By making these data available through Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) new preliminary data search tool, nation-wide preliminary data are in a centralized and easily accessible location, along with FEMA’s other flood mapping products and tools. Additional benefits of this new search tool include:
- Citizens can now access both preliminary and effective flood hazard data on the same site
- Quick and easy search functions
- Ability to search for the data by state and county
- Helpful customer service through the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) at 1-877-336-2627 or e-mail FEMAMapSpecialist@riskmapcds.com
Preliminary data are for review and guidance purposes only. By viewing preliminary data and maps, the user acknowledges that the information provided is preliminary and subject to change. Preliminary data, including new or revised FIRMs, FIS reports, and FIRM Databases, are not final and are presented on the MSC as the best information available at this time. Additionally, preliminary data cannot be used to rate flood insurance policies or enforce the Federal mandatory purchase requirement. FEMA will remove preliminary data once effective data are available.
Preliminary data include new or revised FIRMs, Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, and FIRM Databases:
- A FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) is the official map that shows Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) and the risk premium zones applicable to a community. Risk zones indicated on FIRMs provide a basis for establishing flood insurance coverage premium rates offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
- FIS reports provide background information on the analysis performed and more precise data on the flood elevations in a community
- A FIRM Database is a collection of the digital data that are used in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications for creating new FIRMs. These datasets cover a county or a community
In addition to preliminary data, Letter of Map Revisions (LOMRs) in the public appeals period will also be made available for view on the FEMA Map Service Center (MSC) website, located under the community’s effective FIRM. Prior to a LOMR becoming effective, stakeholders are provided a 90-day appeal period in which they can appeal information contained within the LOMR.
Citizens may access their community’s preliminary data by visiting the Preliminary Data Search Tool, or through the Map Service Center (MSC) Product Catalog by selecting 'Preliminary Mapping Products.'
The preliminary data webpages listed above undergo periodic maintenance. If you are unable to access your community’s preliminary data through these channels, please visit this alternate site.
The release of preliminary data is an important step in a community’s flood mapping lifecycle. There are several benefits for citizens and professionals in viewing their community’s preliminary data before it becomes an effective FIRM:
- Allows the public to voice their opinions or concerns regarding how the data may affect them or to question data accuracy
- Insurance agents can compare existing FIRMs with preliminary FIRMs to see how their clients may be affected. However, policies cannot be written using preliminary data
- Loan and mortgage brokers can use preliminary data as a guide to determine whether a property may be mapped into a high-risk area, allowing the borrower to be informed of any changes or requirements before finalizing the loan
- Real estate agents and brokers can determine what changes are likely to occur and how it might affect any properties for sale
- Engineers, developers, and builders can plan for safer construction
Anyone can view their property or community’s preliminary data. These individuals may include:
- General public
- Home, property, and business owners
- Community officials
- Engineers and surveyors
- Insurance and real estate agents
- Community developers and planners
- Floodplain and emergency managers
- Financial bankers and lenders
Preliminary data are not for use, distribution, or replication until the data are finalized and labeled as “effective” on the MSC. Preliminary data are for review and guidance purposes only. By viewing preliminary data, the user acknowledges that the information provided is preliminary and subject to change. Preliminary data, including new or revised FIRMs, FIS reports, and FIRM Databases, are not final and are presented on the MSC as the best information available at this time. Additionally, preliminary data cannot be used to rate flood insurance policies or enforce the Federal mandatory purchase requirement. Preliminary data will be removed and replaced once effective data are available.
Unlike preliminary data, effective data and maps are official and should be used for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) purposes and viewing risk premium zones applicable to a community. If you don’t want to view preliminary data, go to your community’s effective FIRM or effective FIS Report on the MSC Product Catalog.
Preliminary data will be phased into this new search tool beginning in May 2013. To view preliminary data issued before May or if you have questions about where to find your community’s preliminary data, contact the FMIX at 1-877-336-2627 or e-mail FEMAMapSpecialist@riskmapcds.com.