Some residents of New Jersey's coastal towns may soon be required to purchase flood insurance, and not just because of the recent devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy.

Aerial view of Seaside Heights (USGS)

By next year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is scheduled to complete a major update of flood zone maps for shore towns, some of which haven't had them revised in decades.

FEMA regional specialist Barbara Lynch tells The Press of Atlantic City  that the new maps should be ready by the end of next summer. They use laser technology that can determine land elevation to within six inches.

That could mean homeowners who haven't had to buy flood insurance may have to. In the wake of Sandy, that prospect may not be disagreeable to many.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)