On October 11, 2012, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are going to be updated for people living along the coast in the Southeast. The updated FIRMs will present a clearer picture of flood risks and provide flood hazard information for other areas as well.
According to FEMA, floods are most commonly occurring natural disasters in the United States, and towns and cities along the coast are in the most danger of floods. About 40 percent of the population in the United States lives in communities along the coast, and these communities need to know the risks of floods and steps they can take to protect themselves and their property.
FEMA and other partners need to update the FIRMS because flood risk changes over the course of time. All of the following can lead to new water and flow patterns: construction, environmental factors, shoreline erosion, and numerous other manmade and natural factors.
FEMA will work with regional, state and local partners through the Southeast over the next couple of years to revise the FIRMs along coastal areas. The new FIRMs will qualify as the most detailed and accurate flood risk data because of new technology and engineering tools.
The state of Mississippi received completed FIRMS in 2007. The updated counties include Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson. In order to see the progress of the FIRMs for the FEMA Region IV Coastal Analysis and Mapping, you can visit the following website: www.southeastcoastalmaps.com. You can find information for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Community planners can use the new information when planning activities. Developers can use the information in order to make decisions where to build and how the construction might affect flood risks. Insurance companies and real estate agents can use the new information to make changes to their rates.
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency