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In this Issue of Welcome to the Flood Zone:

Message from Jim
Maine NFIP Corner: Cumberland and York County Flood Map Update
Real Estate Corner: "Americans Abandoning Neighborhoods Due to Rising Flood Risk, Study Finds" and "Worsening Floods May Force Some Mainers to Flee their Homes"
In the News: "Officials Rush to Document Flooding Along Kennebec River in Central Maine as Outages, Fallout Persists", "State Announces Online Hub for Flood Relief; FEMA to Assess Damage", and "The Billion-dollar Industry Between You and FEMA’s Flood Insurance"
Resources: "NFIP Summary of Coverage" and "Understanding Flood Loss Avoidance"

Banner Image: A table and benches are surrounded by frozen flood water on a river bench near Hirschfeld, southern Germany. The Telegraph, February 8, 2012, Karl-Josef Hildenbrand.


Message from Jim

Happy New Year!

As you will read below in the "Maine NFIP Corner" section, the updated Cumberland and York County flood maps are finally going into effect!

Real estate licensees, note that this could change a property owner's flood insurance purchase requirement in either direction. Some homeowners may receive a notice from their lender stating flood insurance will be required as a condition of their loan, and some will be given notice that it is no longer required. It is important to understand that actual flood risk did not change.

In theory, the revised flood maps will improve the evaluation process of actual flood risk, but remember, its primary purpose is to determine areas of higher risk, resulting in a homeowner being required to purchase flood insurance. The flood maps do not represent a level of accuracy to determine the extent of actual flood risk that can be highly relied upon. This logic is supported by the statistic that approximately 40% of all flood insurance claims occur on homes not required to carry flood insurance. Revised flood maps and improved flood disclosure in real estate transactions will best serve to close the gap between perceived map risk and actual flood risk.

Click here to read "Understanding FEMA's Summary of Map Actions and Revalidation Letter", a FEMA resource explaining the documents used to implement a revised flood map and how FEMA assists a community in maintaining the Flood Insurance Rate Map.


Maine NFIP Corner

Cumberland and York County Flood Map Update

The Floodplain Management Program was notified by FEMA that they have issued the Letter of Final Determination (LFD) for the updated flood maps in Cumberland County. The LFD letters are dated December 20th and were sent certified mail/return receipt to all of the communities in the county. The flood maps are set to go effective on June 20, 2024.

Within the next couple of weeks, our office will be sending updated model ordinances and relevant attachments to all the communities. Over the next 6 months, they will work primarily with us to update their ordinances which must include a reference to the new map date. All communities must update their ordinance prior to the map effective date or they will be suspended from the NFIP on June 21st - no exceptions.

We are anticipating that the LFD for York County will be issued any day now.

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator


Real Estate Corner

Americans Abandoning Neighborhoods Due to Rising Flood Risk, Study Finds

By: Saul Elbein, The Hill, December 18, 2023

Rising risk of floods is hollowing out counties across the United States — creating abandoned pockets in the hearts of cities, a new report has found.

These abandoned areas tend to map onto regions of historic disinvestment — and flight out of them is accelerating, according to findings published in Nature Climate Change.

In cities across the country, but particularly concentrated in the Midwestern states such as Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota, increasing flood risk has driven this “climate abandonment” of individual census tracts, sometimes quite rapidly.

Click here to read the full article.

For a more local take on this study, check out the following article.


The parking lot of the Hannaford supermarket in downtown Gardiner flooded during the Dec. 18, 2023, storm that caused the Kennebec River and tributaries to overflow their banks. Image from: Kevin Miller / Maine Public

Worsening Floods May Force Some Mainers to Flee their Homes

By: Lori Valigra, Bangor Daily News, December 18, 2023

In Maine, Waldo County is one of the most at-risk areas when looking at significant flood risk and lost population from 2000 to 2020, Porter said. Most of the areas are along the rivers where they feed into larger water bodies. The area with the most risk, he said, is in Belfast along the Passagassawakeag River where it feeds into Belfast Bay.

Lincoln, Hancock, Sagadahoc and Washington counties also showed high risks in those 20 years. Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset and York counties showed some of the lowest risk.

Click here to read the full article.


In the News


Greg Stewart, Chief of the Hydrologic Monitoring Branch in the New England Water Science Center of the United States Geological Survey points to high water marks near Maine Avenue in Gardiner. Image: Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Officials Rush to Document Flooding Along Kennebec River in Central Maine as Outages, Fallout Persists

By: Keith Edwards, Kennebec Journal, December 21, 2023

U.S. Geological Survey crews are in a rush against time, and the elements, to document as precisely as possible how high floodwaters got in the recent flooding, to provide data for a number of future planning purposes.

Click here to read the article.

State Announces Online Hub for Flood Relief; FEMA to Assess Damage

By: Hannah LaClaire, Portland Press Herald, December 26, 2023

On Tuesday, Gov. Janet Mills launched the Maine Flood Resources and Assistance Hub, an online aggregate of information, resources and assistance for Mainers affected by flooding and damages.

The website provides links to Maine Bureau of Insurance resources on flooding and storm-related insurance claims, directions for reporting storm damage to the state, road closures, and information about how to safely deal with tree debris. It also includes resources to help families stay safe during future storms and prolonged power outages, such as where to find warming and emergency shelters, home heating guides and tips for generator and food safety.

Click here to read the full article.

flood pic

Image by: David Ryder/Getty Images

The Billion-dollar Industry Between You and FEMA’s Flood Insurance

By: Tik Root, Grist, December 12, 2023

Cutting payments to brokers, or selling policies directly to consumers, could save millions. FEMA and insurance companies say it’s not quite that straightforward.

Click here to read the full article.




NFIP Summary of Coverage

Share this brochure with clients to help them understand the details of their Standard Flood Insurance Policy, including the declarations page, items covered (and not covered) and an explanation of the claims process.

Click here to download a PDF of the 8-page brochure.


Understanding Flood Loss Avoidance

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers policyholders who purchase a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) coverage to protect themselves against flood loss. Flood loss avoidance is a term used to describe the preventative actions you can take to minimize or prevent flood damage to covered property.

The SFIP covers up to $1,000 toward the purchase of supplies and labor to protect your insured property from the imminent threat of flood, and $1,000 to relocate insured property away from the described location to protect it from flood waters.

Click here to learn more!


January Flood Funny


Image from MammothMemory.net

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