ATLANTA – People living in coastal communities throughout the Southeast will have a more accurate picture of their flood risk as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and other flood hazard information are being updated in these areas.
Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S., with coastal areas being particularly vulnerable. Nearly 40 percent of the nation’s population lives in coastal communities, so it is important that people know their flood risk and take steps to protect themselves and their property.
Flood risks change over time because of construction, development, environmental changes, shoreline erosion, and other natural or manmade factors. These changes send water flowing in new directions, creating flood risks that did not exist previously — precisely why flood maps are updated periodically.
Throughout the next several years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Office in Atlanta, along with regional, state and local partners throughout the Southeast, will update the effective FIRMs for coastal areas using more recent data and the latest scientific engineering tools. Click here to see a list of the organizations that will be involved in this effort with FEMA.
To see the progress, visit the FEMA Region IV Coastal Analysis and Mapping website at www.southeastcoastalmaps.com. This site provides information on the status of coastal mapping projects in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, as well as other flood hazard information.
Updated FIRMs for coastal communities in Mississippi, including Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties, were completed in 2007. Visit the Mississippi webpage for more information.
Community planners and local officials use flood hazard information to improve local planning activities. Builders and developers use the information to make decisions on where to build and how construction can affect flood risk. Insurance agents, insurance companies, real estate agents and lending institutions use the information for insurance rating purposes and to help residents better understand how flood hazards affect their property. Property owners and renters can use flood hazard information to help make better financial decisions about protecting their properties.
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.