Roy Wright, FEMA’s deputy associate administrator for mitigation, explains how and why new flood maps are created in an infographic featured in a new blog post from the agency.
He writes that helping homeowners and communities be prepared for disasters is “one of our top priorities at FEMA. When you know your risk, you can prepare for the worst, take steps to mitigate against hazards, and protect yourself, your family and your property.”
And floods are the most expensive disaster in the United States every year, he writes: “Flood maps play a vital role in helping us prepare for flooding by informing communities about the local flood risk. Flood maps help communities to incorporate flood risk into their planning. They’re also the basis for flood insurance rates through the National Flood Insurance Program, which FEMA administers at the direction of Congress. By law, you may be required to get flood insurance if you live in the highest risk areas. But flooding can happen anywhere — about 20 percent of all the flood claims come from areas with lower risk. And you don’t have to live close to water to be at risk.”
Updating a flood map can take 3-5 years or more. FEMA’s Risk MAP program develops them “using the best available science [and] analyzed by some of the leading engineering firms in the field. The mapping standards are published, vetted, have been peer reviewed, and are updated continuously to ensure they are aligned with current best practices,” he writes.