New flood plain maps could dramatically change flood insurance rates for residents in Oregon and Washington. The maps are issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) based on topographical models. The new rollout is the first update since 1978 and will determine which areas are considered flood-prone, therefore requiring homeowners to purchase flood insurance. These preliminary maps are coming at a time when the federal government is trying to phase out flood insurance subsidies in order to pay off massive debt incurred after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Sandy.
For some coastal communities, like Edgewater Terrace in Seaside, the effects are dramatic. According to an article in The Daily Astorian:
The FEMA lines don’t properly align with known floodways, and, instead, include properties that have never flooded and never will. The mistake could cost property owners hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more per year in insurance rates.
While some communities are figuring out how to appeal the maps and avoid increased flood insurance rates, others are happy with where the new lines fall. If the new maps are adopted, many residents of Long Beach, Washington, would no longer be living in flood-prone areas and would see their insurance rates decrease significantly.
Do you live on the coast or near a body of water? How will the new FEMA flood maps affect you?
Editor’s note: This post has been modified to indicate that residents all over the region are affected by the new flood plain maps.
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OPB | Sept. 22, 2016