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!

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In this Issue of Welcome to the Flood Zone:

Message from Jim
Maine NFIP Corner: A message from Sue Baker, the State NFIP Coordinator: "Flood Insurance Analytics Reports and Data"
In the News: "Hurricane Elsa Recap" and "Don't Get Soaked: Flood Damage Could Lessen if Cities Build Smarter"
Resources: "Interagency Flood Risk Management"
Climate Corner: "Reservoirs are Drying Up as Consequences of the Western Drought Worsen"
Real Estate Corner: "I'm Buying A Home: How Do I Assess Its Flood Risk?"

Banner Image: Tropical storm Elsa makes landfall in Florida on July 6, 2021. (Marc Topkin/AP)


Message from Jim

As the implementation of Risk Rating 2.0 – Equity in Action (RR2) quietly continues, many homeowners and consultants are still unaware that the methodology currently used to rate flood risk for the collateral of a federally-backed or insured loan will be very different. The days of simply being “in or out of the flood zone” will soon be behind us. With a commitment to transform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) into one that people value, trust, and which best serves the nation, the new methodology will leverage industry best practices and more advanced technology to deliver rates that are equitable, easier to understand, and that better reflect a property’s individual flood risk.

According to FEMA, current NFIP policyholders should soon be able to contact their insurance providers to learn how RR2 might impact them. The new methodology will go into effect for all new policies beginning October 1, 2021. Existing policyholders eligible for renewal may also begin to take advantage of immediate decreases in their premiums at this time. All policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will then be subject to the new rating methodology (FEMA, 2021).

The program has always attempted to be fair in implementing new maps or policies, and will continue to face the challenge of communicating risk while understanding a harsh reality does exist in the world of flood risk. Climate change, development, increases in impervious surfaces, loss of vegetation, and the size of storms or rainfall events are not an inclusive list of factors that will continue to create flood uncertainty.

For Cumberland and York Counties in Maine, as well as the many other counties in the country still transitioning from paper to Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs), there are now two large ships in the harbor that will soon come into port; new maps plus new rating methodologies means things could play out differently for a lot of people. As with preparing for flood map changes, take advantage of opportunities to be proactive now: learn ways to decrease the cost of an annual flood insurance premium, implement sound mitigation strategies, and further educate yourself on the large differences which can exist between mapped risk and actual risk. The program will reward good decisions.


Maine NFIP Corner

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator

Flood Insurance Analytics Reports and Data

FEMA has several flood insurance policy and claims reports that are accessible by the public. The reports are general in nature and do not contain any personally identifiable information (PII). This is a great resource for viewing policy and claims numbers in your state. First time users will need to register for an account in order to access the data.

Click here to access the reports.

elsa track 0710

In the News

Hurricane Elsa Recap

Weather.com, July 10, 2021

Elsa became the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season on July 2, almost six weeks earlier than the average date of the season's first Atlantic hurricane. It made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on July 7, then heavy rain, flooding, strong winds and tornadoes spread across parts of the Southeast and Northeast.

Click here to read the full report from Weather.com.

Don't Get Soaked: Flood Damage Could Lessen if Cities Build Smarter

By: Ryley McGinnis, UConn Today, June 24, 2021

UConn Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Research Professor Xinyi Shen and Ph.D. student Kang He used hydrological and hydraulic modeling of extreme flood events to examine two determinants of flood severity in the New Haven area of Connecticut: riverine and storm surge flooding.

"Shen’s research is a tool to arm cities with the knowledge they need to prepare for natural disasters, which is especially important in Connecticut, which has a relatively high population density and proximity to coastal regions."

Click here to learn more!



interagency logo

Interagency Flood Risk Management

The Interagency Flood Risk Management (InFRM) team brings together Federal Partners with mission areas of hazard mitigation, emergency management, floodplain management, natural resources management or conservation to leverage the skillsets, resources and programs to determine the needs of communities and define solutions and implement measures to reduce long term flood risk throughout the States of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas (FEMA Region VI).

Currently, the InFRM team is comprised of FEMA, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Geological Survey, and the National Weather Service. No single agency has all the answers, but through a coordinated effort of multiple programs and various perspectives, a cohesive solution can be found.

Click here to learn more!


2021 TMAC Stakeholder Engagement Survey

The Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC) is seeking input from a wide range of stakeholders regarding graduated approaches to flood hazard and risk communication and a greater understanding of flood risk. Key stakeholder input will be reviewed by TMAC as they develop recommendations to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in planning for the Future of Flood Risk Data (FFRD). Your valuable feedback may inform the program’s evolving products and services to best meet National Flood Insurance Program customer needs.

Stakeholders may include those from local, state, and federal governments, tribal councils, territorial governments, regional agencies, surveyors, engineers, insurance agents, real estate agents, developers, and homeowners.

Click here to take the survey (it will take approximately 10 minutes).

Click here to learn more about the Technical Mapping Advisory Council.


Water levels at California's Lake Shasta have dropped to 37 percent of capacity. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Climate Corner

Reservoirs are Drying Up as Consequences of the Western Drought Worsen

By: Diana Leonard, Laris Karklis, and Zach Levitt, The Washington Post, July 9, 2021

Reservoir levels are dropping throughout the West, as the drought tightens its grip on the region and intense summer heat further stresses both water supply and the surrounding landscape. Many reservoirs are at or approaching historic low levels due to lackluster rainy seasons combined with increasing temperatures due to climate change.

The drought crisis is perhaps most apparent in the Colorado River basin, which saw one of its driest years on record, following two decades of less-than-adequate flows. The nation’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead near Las Vegas, is at its lowest level since the lake filled after the construction of the Hoover dam in the 1930s; it currently sits at 1,069 feet above sea level, or 35 percent of its total capacity. It supplies water to Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico.

Click here to read the full article.

for sale

Real Estate Corner

I'm Buying A Home: How Do I Assess Its Flood Risk?

Allstate.com, July 2019

When you're shopping for a home, you may want to ask whether your potential new property is in a high-risk flood zone. But even if it's not, the truth is that any home can experience a flood. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), even if you live in an area with low or moderate flood risk, you are five times more likely to experience a flood than a fire in your home over the next 30 years.

Click here to learn more!


August Flood Funny


Image by Joel Pett

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