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FEMA Reduces Properties In High-Risk Flood Zones [AUDIO]

Federal Emergency Management Officials explain the drastic reduction in Velocity or “V” zones in the recent release of its Preliminary Work Maps.

FEMA Map
FEMA Map (FEMA)

During a teleconference Monday, FEMA Hazard Mitigation Branch Director Bill McDonnell says we’re seeing a reduction in “V” zones from the earlier released Advisory Base Flood Elevation Maps (ABFE) because they had not completed its Over Land Wave Analysis, which he says looks at all the obstructions that would impede a wave.

So, McDonnell says in the ABFE map estimated the potential for flooding as very high intentionally to give property owners who wanted to rebuild some sort of a guideline. They mainly did this because they determined that the overall risk for flooding in the special flood hazard area had increased from the current effective maps to where they are now and they anticipate that that risk may even increase in the future.

View The Flood Zone Maps

McDonnell says some of the area’s where they’ve seen significant decreases in “V” zones in the four counties were Atlantic County, where there was an 80% decrease and Hudson County, were there was a 76% decrease.

There was less of a reduction in Ocean County which saw a 45% decrease and in Monmouth County with a 46% decrease.

The good news is that going from the high risk “V” zones to the lower risk “A” zones could spare the property owner tens of thousands of dollars in rebuilding and flood insurance cost.

McDonnell says the Preliminary Work Maps are also a tool for town officials in their planning and mitigation process.

“They will see where they should possibly be rebuilding or maybe where they should not be rebuilding in their communities and they can also petition and apply for mitigation grants from FEMA or the state.”

However, he says the Preliminary Work Maps do not impact the National Flood Insurance Rates. He says only final adopted “Effective Maps” impact insurance rates, which is a process that takes anywhere from 18 to 44 months.

Property owners can see the flood risk zone they’re in by going to Region2Coastal.com, where you can type in your address and see what your flood zone designation is.

You can also get an estimate on your flood insurance rates by calling the National Flood Insurance Program at 877-287-9804, or visit floodsmart.gov.

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