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
Education: Two webinars coming up this month! "Elevation Certificates" and "Floodplain Mapping, Insurance, and Regulation"
In the News: "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Floodplain Considerations for Temporary Critical Facilities", "It’s Time to Revise Estimates of River Flood Hazards" and "Nearly Half of States Are Likely to Experience Flooding This Spring"
Resources: "Notice to Congress: Monthly Updates on Flood Mapping for 2020" and "Actions You Can Take to Protect a Flood-Prone House or Business with a Crawlspace"
Real Estate Corner: "Hurricane Harvey Gave These Real Estate CEOs ‘The Blueprint’ to Weather Coronavirus Crisis"

Banner Image: Flooding in Hamburg, Iowa in March, 2019. Image by Tim Gruber for The New York Times.


Message from Jim

To further understand the National Flood Insurance Program, let’s review two terms used commonly in daily decision making, yet are often misunderstood - hazard and risk.
The terms are concisely defined as follows:
A hazard is anything that has the potential to cause harm (ACC, 2020).
A risk is the likelihood that a hazard will cause harm (ACC, 2020).

It is important to understand the significant and meaningful differences between these terms. Harm can be caused with any hazard, but risk pertains to the potential and severity of the harm, as well as the circumstances attached to the hazard. For example, in assessing the danger of a body of water such as a puddle, stream, river, pond, lake or ocean as a hazard to evaluate the risk of drowning, we often utilize common sense and learned behaviors that have served us well for a majority of our simple daily decisions. Even if you are not able to swim, it is obvious that the risk of drowning in a puddle is immensely less than diving into the ocean.

Most psychologists agree that our brains make choices using two cognitive systems: one governs automated and instinctive thoughts which store previous successful decisions into long-term memory, allowing us to be fast and reflexive; the other governs more controlled thoughts which influence the emotions in our decision process. When dealing with unfamiliar or complex situations, the latter cognitive system often lacks the necessary data to understand the best protective measure (Meyer and Kunreuther, 2017).

The emergency evacuation process often involves poor decision-making. Part of the reason emergency managers and the government require evacuation before a storm arrives is many lack the necessary data to make appropriate decisions. For example, when a person uses long-term memory to decide the quickest and shortest distance to safety as a storm approaches, they may overlook that the chosen passage has become very dangerous due to proximity to the coast; storm surge and rising waters were not part of the decision process. There are many reasons or excuses which inhibit society’s willingness to improve the cognitive abilities that help prepare us for low-probability/high-consequence events, so having more accurate flood maps and higher regulation will never provide adequate protection to society without a deeper understanding of the benefits of mitigation and preparedness aids. Without this process, utilizing long-term memory in unique and dangerous situations can result in a higher risk for the same hazard.



"Elevation Certificates: Live Webinar" - 3 CEUs

Thursday, May 7, 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Instructor: Wendy Lathrop, PLS,CFM, president and owner of Cadastral Consulting, is licensed as a Professional Land Surveyor in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, and as a Professional Planner in New Jersey.

This program will cover the following: Finding the current NFIP map and making a FIRMette to document your findings; selecting the most appropriate building diagram; sources of Base Flood Elevations; advising clients on the outcome of an Elevation Certificate; and determining when Grandfathering is appropriate.

Click here to learn more and register for this live webinar.

"Floodplain Mapping, Insurance, and Regulation" - 6 CEUs

Monday May 11, 11:00 AM - 2:15 PM
Tuesday May 12, 11:00 AM - 2:15 PM

Instructor: William Nechamen, CFM Principal and owner of Nechamen Consulting, LLC, Mr. Nechamen was the Floodplain Coordinator for the State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation for 21 years.

This program covers Flood Insurance Rate Maps, Flood Insurance Studies, and Letters of Map Change as well as National Flood Insurance Program and International Building Codes: Development Standards for Floodplain.

Click here to learn more and register for this two-day online seminar.

Hospital flood

Flood levels rose to approximately 6 inches above the finished floor inside the Hoboken University Medical Center during Hurricane Sandy. This was one of several older facilities that were constructed before floodplain standards were put in place. Image from "Performance of Critical Facilities and Key Assets, Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York: Mitigation Assessment Team Report".

In the News

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Floodplain Considerations for Temporary Critical Facilities

FEMA.gov, March 2020

FEMA released a Fact Sheet to offer guidance for critical facilities during these difficult times. "Even a slight chance of flooding can pose too great a threat to the delivery of services provided by a temporary critical facility. Examples include temporary medical services which are not limited to hospitals, medical sheltering, and mortuary facilities. In many situations, these critical facilities are likely to have occupants who may not be sufficiently mobile to evacuate in order to avoid injury or death during a flood. Site considerations for such facilities must include an evaluation of flood risk."

Read more!

It’s Time to Revise Estimates of River Flood Hazards

By Giulia Sofia, E. I. Nikolopoulos, and L. Slater, EOS, March 16, 2020

Floods are hazards that are often viewed through the lenses of the natural and physical sciences. But these hazards are intertwined with history, people, and society, and so their complex dynamics cannot be understood simply by addressing the climatic, hydrologic, or geomorphologic processes that drive them.

The catastrophic 2019 flooding in the U.S. Midwest illustrates the human influence on flooding. It is the latest in a long line of recent major floods in the region [e.g., Tate, 2019] and highlights risks of the new climate reality. Yet blaming climate alone might be insufficient and misleading when attempting to understand flood risk over long timescales.

Read more!

North Fork Flood 1

Flooding on the North Fork of the Kentucky River in February. Image by Joey McKenney.

Nearly Half of States Are Likely to Experience Flooding This Spring

By Forbes Tompkins, Pew Charitable Trusts, April 2, 2020

The warmth and blooming foliage that mark the arrival of spring are perhaps more welcome to Americans now than at any time in recent memory. But spring also brings its own challenges, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns that the season carries a risk of moderate to major flooding across 23 states this year.

Read more!



Notice to Congress: Monthly Updates on Flood Mapping for 2020

Through its Risk MAP program, FEMA consistently releases new flood maps and data, giving communities across America access to helpful, authoritative data that they can use to make decisions about flood risk. The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 as amended with the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, directs FEMA to notify Members of Congress when constituents in their District are and will be affected by a flood mapping update.

Click here to view and download the most recent mapping updates for 2020.


Flood vents are a great way to reduce pressure on the foundation walls in a crawlspace during a flooding event.

Actions You Can Take to Protect a Flood-Prone House or Business with a Crawlspace

The Association of State Floodplain Managers created a brochure that outlines ways to reduce flood damage and flood insurance premiums by modifying the use of space within and around a structure. "While it is advisable to consult with your local floodplain management administrator on regulatory and flood insurance requirements, this brochure is intended to provide basic flood risk reduction advice for structures located on a crawlspace."

Learn more!

Additional information can be found in FEMA's Technical Bulletin 11 "Crawlspace Construction for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas" (FEMA, 2011)

for sale

Real Estate Corner

Hurricane Harvey Gave These Real Estate CEOs ‘The Blueprint’ to Weather Coronavirus Crisis

By Diana Olick, CNBC, April 16, 2020

Nothing can compare to the crushing economic tsunami created by the coronavirus pandemic, but in the housing market, there are some parallels to natural disasters.

Lessons learned from those devastating events are helping the industry cope now.

Read more!


May Flood Funny

Powered by Mad Mimi®A GoDaddy® company