Welcome to the Flood Zone is a nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and educational opportunities. This newsletter has been proudly featured by the Association of State Floodplain Managers, the National Society of Professional Surveyors, and the Maine and New Hampshire Floodplain Management Programs. Please feel free to share with your friends and colleagues!

If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, simply click the unsubscribe link in the footer of this message.


In this Issue of Welcome to the Flood Zone:

Message from Jim
Maine NFIP Corner: The 2022 Maine River Flow Advisory Commission Report; "LD1809: An Act to Allow Exceptions to the Height Limit Under Shoreland Zoning Laws is Signed into Law"; and "Updated Flood Insurance Rating Methodology Now in Full Effect"
In the News: "NC State Study: More Than a Million Square Miles of US at Risk of Flood Damage" and "Spring Flood Outlook 2022: Higher Risk in Ohio Valley, Red River Valley; Lower Risk in Plains"
Resources: "Renewing Flood Insurance Policies Under Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action", "Flood Loss Avoidance Benefits of Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management" and "FEMA Geospatial Resource Center"
Climate Corner: "Climate Change: Global Sea Level"
Real Estate Corner: "Unpriced Costs of Flooding: An Emerging Risk for Homeowners and Lenders" and "FEMA-NAR Toolkit: Flood Preparedness Resources"

Banner Image: Spring melt on the Saco River in Limington, Maine, 2015. Image by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer for the Portland Press Herald.


Message from Jim

As a consultant that offers diverse professional services as a Land Surveyor, Realtor, and Floodplain Manager, I have always enjoyed the value of collaboration, connection, and education as a way to protect our clients, ourselves and others from harm. Understanding real estate from different perspectives, collaborating with those from other professions, and conveying that combined knowledge to the public, has always been the driver of my personal and professional mission to learn more and be more helpful to others. That is why I found the Spring 2022 issue of "Maine Realtor" magazine, the official publication of the Maine Association of Realtors (MAR), to be both refreshing and inspirational.

This issue included the President's Message from our 2022 MAR President, Madeleine Hill, where she shared the story of her group hike on Mount Katahdin and what it taught her about leadership and dedication to a common goal. Her message is pertinent to anyone who values team effort over individual accolades. "You do not do what is best for you, you do what is best for the group". This statement can be easily modified and fit well into our Realtor Code of Ethics if we replace the word "group" with "client". Having a client is similar to becoming part of the team. What is best for the client should always be considered as the ultimate goal. Thank you, Madeleine, for sharing your story.

Another feature of this issue that caught my attention was an insurance-themed article by Cale Pickford from Allen Insurance and Financial, entitled "The Top 3 Things REALTORS® Should Never Let Slide or Ignore". The three things are: 1) never forgo the professional home inspection, 2) residential land surveys are crucial for buyers, and 3) handling of client's sensitive data needs to be at the top of every real estate agent's list.

I am delighted to see professionals from other industries highlighting the importance of these points – particularly Item 2 - residential land surveys are crucial for buyers! Cale states, “A property survey will allow a buyer to get ahead of certain issues and avoid numerous potential problems down the road.” He continues by saying, “Today’s market is seeing more and more cash purchases. Skipping the process of applying for a mortgage may often mean missing the fact that a home is in a special flood hazard zone.” Thank you to Cale for highlighting the importance of not overlooking surveys, flood insurance premiums or actual flood risk in real estate transactions.

Educating our clients well has always been at the core of our organization’s services. For example, a mortgage loan inspection should never be used for any land-use decisions, either before or after a closing, because it lacks the research and computation effort needed to accurately identify boundary lines. A mortgage loan inspection is only a tool to be used by the investor holding the mortgage note to aid in evaluating investment risk. This can be confusing since it is often used to remove the survey exception from a title policy, and is even called a survey on the closing statement, but this product is extremely deficient of the effort needed to provide professional land surveying representation to a client. Use of a mortgage loan inspection as a Realtor creates liability exposure.

We always refuse the request from a potential client, a municipality, architect, etc. who desires to utilize a mortgage loan inspection for a permit or construction. If given the opportunity, we will explain the difference between a boundary survey and mortgage loan inspection, and many times the receiver is very appreciative in understanding the difference in product. In this educational process, protection is extended to the many involved. And it is this type of collaborative effort to look out for our clients that will protect us all moving forward. Thank you again to the many others out there who are leading the way to a more sustainable future through education and a commitment to public safety.


Maine NFIP Corner

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator

The Maine River Flow Advisory Commission (RFAC) held its annual meeting on March 3rd.

The RFAC is composed of representatives from eight major river basin management operations, seven state agencies, two federal agencies and the University of Maine. The Commission was originally formed after the spring floods of 1983 to improve the exchange of hydrologic information collected by the members, to review the data, and to provide information to emergency action agencies and the public. It was created in statute by the Legislature in 1997.

The Commission meets annually in late winter to share information, examine potential for spring flooding and to renew operational protocols. Such factors as stream flow, long-term weather forecasts, snowpack, river ice conditions, and reservoir levels are reviewed. This report summarizes the information presented on current hydrologic conditions as of this date.

Click here to view the 2022 River Flow Advisory Commission report, or please visit: for more information

LD1809: An Act to Allow Exceptions to the Height Limit Under Shoreland Zoning Laws is Signed into Law

On Wednesday, March 16th, Governor Mills signed LD1809 into state law. The Act changes the way the DEP Shoreland Zoning height limit is measured for buildings that are also in the mapped flood zone. This is expected to have a positive effect for non-conforming, pre-FIRM buildings as they can now be raised so that the lowest floor is above the base flood elevation. Historically, the height limit prevented substantial improvements for older buildings, which in turn, meant that smaller improvements could be made, but the building couldn’t be elevated high enough to protect it from a base flood event. The enacted legislation will go into effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature.

Click here to view a PDF copy of the law.

Updated Flood Insurance Rating Methodology Now in Full Effect

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has updated the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) risk rating methodology through the implementation of a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. This methodology will determine flood risk using a combination of factors and data sources rather than just FEMA flood maps. These factors include multiple flood types (e.g., heavy rainfall, river overflow, coastal storm surge, etc.) and frequencies, distance to a water source, and property characteristics such as first floor elevation, construction and foundation type, and home value.

While Risk Rating 2.0 was introduced to all new policies starting last October, all remaining policies will be subject to the new rating methodology renewing on or after April 1, 2022. Although the Maine State Profile Fact Sheet is from 2021, it gives a general idea of how the pricing change will affect Maine policies.

Click here to view the risk rating profiles by state.


In the News

NC State Study: More Than a Million Square Miles of US at Risk of Flood Damage

Nationally, researchers found, the total at-risk area is significantly higher than the roughly 210,000 square miles that the Federal Emergency Management Agency says has a 1% chance of flooding each year. That means much more of the country — and many more people — are at risk of being injured or suffering property damage than indicated by federal flood data.

"For us, it was critically important to break free from current hazard mitigation policies such as the 100-year floodplain, as they create a representation of risk as inside versus outside,” said Georgina Sanchez, a research associate at NC State University’s Center for Geospatial Analytics who was among the study’s authors. The nationwide map creates what Sanchez calls “a wall-to-wall understanding of flood damage probability.”

Click here to read the full article.


This map indicates locations with a greater than 50% chance of exceeding flood stage from March through May 2022, as of March 3. Potential peak spring flood stages are color-coded by severity. (NOAA/NWS)

Spring Flood Outlook 2022: Higher Risk in Ohio Valley, Red River Valley; Lower Risk in Plains

By: Jonathan Erdman, National Weather Service, March 4, 2022

At a Glance

Spring flooding may be a bigger threat than usual in parts of the Midwest.

This flood threat is much lower in the drought-stricken Plains and much of the West.

Heavy spring rain and rapid warmups after spring snowstorms are wildcards in this outlook.

Click here to learn more from the National Weather Service!




Renewing Flood Insurance Policies Under Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action

What agents need to know about renewing policies in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP):

Beginning April 1, 2022, all policies will be priced under Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action at their next renewal. From Oct. 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022, existing policies are able to renew under the Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action methodology.

Some premiums will go down, some will go up, and some will stay about the same. Premiums that go up will transition gradually, with most annual increases capped at 18%.

Former Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) and policies on Newly Mapped properties now have more flexibility to adjust coverage and premium amounts.

Click here to learn more. (February 2022)


Flood Loss Avoidance Benefits of Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management

This modeling study, prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, estimates the flood loss avoidance benefits from application of small storm retention practices for new development and redevelopment nationwide. Over time, the use of green stormwater infrastructure can save hundreds of millions of dollars in flood losses, while just applying the practices to new development and redevelopment only. If retrofitting were to occur, the avoided losses would be even more significant.

The study was conducted in consultation with other federal agencies including the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Click here to view a PDF of the study. (195 pages)


FEMA Geospatial Resource Center

FEMA GIS supports the emergency management community with world-class geospatial information, services, and technologies to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate against all hazards.

This resource provides easy access to many GIS platforms such as the National Flood Hazard Layer, the EPA Storm Surge Inundation Map, USGS Streamer, and NOAA Coastal Inundation Dashboard.

Click here to learn more at the FEMA Geospatial Resource Center.


Climate Corner

Climate Change: Global Sea Level

By: Rebecca Lindsey,, August 14, 2020, Updated February 16, 2022

In the United States, almost 30 percent of the population lives in relatively high population-density coastal areas, where sea level plays a role in flooding, shoreline erosion, and hazards from storms. Globally, 8 of the world’s 10 largest cities are near a coast, according to the U.N. Atlas of the Oceans.

In urban settings along coastlines around the world, rising seas threaten infrastructure necessary for local jobs and regional industries. Roads, bridges, subways, water supplies, oil and gas wells, power plants, sewage treatment plants, landfills—the list is practically endless—are all at risk from sea level rise.

Higher background water levels mean that deadly and destructive storm surges, such as those associated with Hurricane Katrina, “Superstorm” Sandy, and Hurricane Michael—push farther inland than they once did. Higher sea level also means more frequent high-tide flooding, sometimes called “nuisance flooding” because it isn't generally deadly or dangerous, but it can be disruptive and expensive. (Explore past and future frequency of high-tide flooding at U.S. locations with the Climate Explorer, part of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.)

Click here to read the full article.

Sea-Level-Rise-Miami-Beach James-Willamor CC 1024

South Beach, Miami on May 3, 2007. Photo by Flickr user James Williamor

for sale

Real Estate Corner

Unpriced Costs of Flooding: An Emerging Risk for Homeowners and Lenders

By: David D. Evans, Leighton A. Hunley, and Brandon Katz, Milliman, January 28, 2022

Homeowners’ misconceptions of their exposure to flood lead us to conclude that the costs of flooding today are likely not fully considered in property values. This leaves the potential for most homeowners’ greatest asset, their homes, to lose significant value if the costs of flooding become realized in the real estate market. In turn, mortgage markets could be adversely impacted by a potentially abrupt repricing event to account for flood risk.

Click here to read the full article.

FEMA-NAR Toolkit: Flood Preparedness Resources

Building a Culture of Preparedness Resources for Real Estate Professionals

The following collection of materials are available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and other government sources for use by real estate professionals and lenders. Find educational resources and promotional pieces to outline the financial protection flood insurance offers and explain various flood insurance requirements to homeowners and business owners.

Click here to view the FEMA-NAR Toolkit.


April Flood Funny


Image by John Auchter, Michigan Radio

Powered by Mad Mimi®A GoDaddy® company