henri flood

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:

Maine NFIP Corner: A message from Sue Baker, the State NFIP Coordinator: "September 11th is Maine First Responder Day"
In the News: "Coastal Wetlands are Nature's Flood Defenses: They Offer More Protection Than We Thought, Estuaries Study Shows" and "FEMA Seeks Public Comments on Proposed Changes to Community Rating System"
Resources: "10 Ways to Help Prevent Flood Damage"
Flood Insurance Updates: "Risk Rating 2.0 Begins October 1, 2021"
Climate Corner: "'Get Scared': World's Scientists Say Disastrous Climate Change is Here" and "FEMA Knows a Lot About Climate-Driven Flooding. But It’s Not Pushing Homeowners Hard Enough to Buy Insurance"
Real Estate Corner: "Homes With High Flood Risk Are Selling for Nearly $50,000 More Than Low-Risk Homes as Pandemic Buyers Chase Waterfront Properties"

Banner Image: Tropical Storm Henri brings flooding to the roads of New Jersey. Image from "Henri Brings Major Flooding to Mercer County, New Jersey" (ABC News, 2021)


Maine NFIP Corner

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator

September is FEMA National Preparedness Month
and September 11th is Maine First Responder Day

Eastern Maine Emergency Preparedness Expo
Cross Insurance Center
157 Main St., Bangor, ME
Saturday, September 11th from 9 am – 3 pm.

emergency preparedness

Free admission and free parking

Along with many other vendors, the Maine Floodplain Management Program will be participating in the Expo, geared toward providing information to individuals, families, and businesses on how to be better prepared for a major emergency or natural disaster.

Sponsored by the Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Waldo, and Washington County Emergency Management Agencies.


An example of a coastal wetlands are salt marshes, areas of low, flat, poorly drained ground that are subject to daily or occasional flooding by salt water or brackish water and covered with a thick mat of grasses and grass-like plants such as sedges and rushes. Salt marshes are common along low seacoasts, inside barrier bars and beaches, in estuaries, and on deltas. (Image: Assateague Island, National Seashore/National Park Service)

In the News

Coastal Wetlands are Nature's Flood Defenses: They Offer More Protection Than We Thought, Estuaries Study Shows

By: Swansea University, ScienceDaily, July 14, 2021

Previous research has focused on wetlands along open coastlines, where the plants absorb wave energy and stop waves pushing inland. However, the new study focuses on estuarine environments, including looking at what happens in upstream estuary areas where waves tend to be much smaller.

Taking this fuller picture into account, the researchers demonstrate that wetlands can have a much bigger storm flood prevention role because they not only absorb wave energy, but simultaneously reduce storm surges as they move up estuary channels.

This happens because the marshes along the estuary edges cause drag or friction, slowing down surges of water caused by storms, and protecting vulnerable upstream areas from flooding.

Click here to learn more.

FEMA Seeks Public Comments on Proposed Changes to Community Rating System

FEMA posted a Request for Information to gather public comment about ways for the agency to consider modifying, streamlining and creating innovative measures to improve the Community Rating System program. These efforts aim to help FEMA ensure that the program includes necessary, properly tailored and up-to-date requirements that effectively achieve these goals:

· Reducing and avoiding flood damage to property

· Supporting the insurance aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program

· Encouraging a comprehensive approach to floodplain management

The Community Rating System is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages floodplain management practices that exceed the minimum requirements in the National Flood Insurance Program. The agency is evaluating the Community Rating System’s potential to ongoing support of state, local, tribal and territorial community goals and needs around floodplain management.

FEMA will host three one-hour webinars to explain the proposed changes and how to provide information for public comment. Anyone interested may register online and attend a webinar session on:

September 7: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Eastern Time
September 8: 1-3 p.m. Eastern Time
September 9: 2-4 p.m. Eastern Time



wet flood proofing

Image from the "National Trust for Historic Preservation" webpage on Wet Floodproofing.

10 Ways to Help Prevent Flood Damage

The Connecticut REALTORS assembled a helpful list of activities you can do in and around your home to prevent flood damage.

One tip, as seen in the photo, is to anchor and raise outdoor equipment. Equipment left outside during a flood can wash away and get damaged, but more importantly, can potentially damage your home. Fuel tanks can be important to anchor because they can become detached and cause damage. Outdoor air-conditioning units and generators may also be raised above the flood level for your property.

Worthy of note, some of these activities can help reduce a flood insurance premium!

Click here to learn more ways to prevent flood damage.


Flood Insurance Updates

Risk Rating 2.0 Begins October 1, 2021

On October 1, 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is updating the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) premium calculation through the implementation of a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. The new methodology leverages insurance industry best practices and cutting-edge technology to enable FEMA to deliver rates that are actuarily sound, equitable, easier to understand and better reflect a property’s individual flood risk.

Since the beginning of the NFIP in the 1970s, rates have been based on the flood zone and the base flood elevation (BFE) depicted on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) in comparison to structure elevation. By utilizing both federal and private sector data sets, catastrophe models and evolving actuarial science, Risk Rating 2.0 incorporates more flood risk variables, such as flood frequency, multiple flood types (river overflow, storm surge, coastal erosion, heavy rainfall), ground elevation, and distance to a water source along with property characteristics such as first floor elevation, foundation/construction type and the cost to rebuild. The BFE depicted on the FIRM will still be utilized within the new Risk Rating 2.0 methodology.

Currently, policyholders with lower-valued homes are paying more than their share of the risk while policyholders with higher-valued homes are paying less than their share of the risk. Because Risk Rating 2.0 considers rebuilding costs, FEMA can equitably distribute premiums across all policyholders based on home value and a property’s unique flood risk.

Beginning on October 1, 2021, newly purchased flood insurance policies will be subject to the Risk Rating 2.0 methodology. Current policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will be subject to the new rating methodology. For current policies renewing between October 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022, policyholders will be given a choice to renew under the old legacy system or the new pricing methodology, whichever is more fiscally beneficial.

Under Risk Rating 2.0, statutory discounts and subsidies, such as grandfathering and newly mapped discounts, will be gradually phased out to actuarial rates. Low-cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRP) will also be phased out. The FIRMs will still be used by lenders to determine the mandatory purchase of flood insurance for those structures located in the mapped floodplain. FIRMs will also still be utilized by local floodplain managers for construction and floodplain management. The limits for building and contents coverage will not change. The transfer of a current policy to a new owner at the time of a property sale will also continue under Risk Rating 2.0. The statutory caps on annual individual rates will still apply (no more than 18% annual increase per policy).

FEMA has provided a Risk Rating 2.0 Maine State Profile which estimates 34% of current policies will see an immediate decrease in premiums, 50% will see monthly increases of $0-$10, 7% will see monthly increases of $10-$20, and 9% will see monthly increases greater than $20. FEMA has also provided premium change data by county and zip code.


Trees burned by a wildfire line the steep banks of Lake Oroville in California while the state faces an extreme drought emergency on July 22, 2021. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Climate Corner

'Get Scared': World's Scientists Say Disastrous Climate Change is Here

By: Zack Colman and Karl Mathiesen, Politico, August 9, 2021

The long-feared era of disastrous climate change has arrived.

For the first time, the planet's top scientists said in a monumental report released on Monday they have definitively linked greenhouse gas emissions to the type of disasters driven by a warmer climate that have touched every corner of the globe this year: extreme rainfall in Germany and China, brutal droughts in the western U.S., a record cyclone in the Philippines and compound events like the wildfires and heat waves from the Pacific Northwest to Siberia to Greece and Turkey.

Click here to read the full article.

FEMA Knows a Lot About Climate-Driven Flooding. But It’s Not Pushing Homeowners Hard Enough to Buy Insurance

By: James Bruggers, Inside Climate News, August 4, 2021

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been collecting a lot of information about flood risks across America, including the increased risk of flooding linked to climate change. But the agency has not effectively used that new knowledge to persuade more Americans to buy flood insurance, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

When people without insurance are flooded, “there are consequences to taxpayers and to the program itself,” said Alicia Puente Cackley, director of financial markets and community investment for GAO. “It is also not as good for the homeowner,” she added. “The assistance you get through a disaster declaration isn’t as much as with insurance.”

Click here to read the full article.

for sale

Real Estate Corner

Homes With High Flood Risk Are Selling for Nearly $50,000 More Than Low-Risk Homes as Pandemic Buyers Chase Waterfront Properties

By: Lily Katz and Sheharyar Bokhari, Redfin News, June 9, 2021, updated June 11, 2021

Since 2013, homes with high flood risk have sold for about 7% more than homes with low flood risk on average, likely because many of them are luxury waterfront properties. That premium surged during the coronavirus pandemic, when many wealthy homebuyers started eyeing oceanfront or lakefront houses outside of major cities.

“Americans are buying the beach houses they always dreamed of because they have the flexibility to work from wherever they want,” said Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari. “While flood risk is intensifying in many parts of the country, it doesn’t seem to be a deal breaker for a lot of homebuyers. This may be because buyers aren’t aware they’re purchasing a home in a flood plain or just don’t view it as an immediate danger. Places with high flood risk are also often home to large concentrations of retirees, many of whom don’t see climate change as a threat they need to worry about in their lifetime. Florida is one example.”

Click here to read the full article.


September Flood Funny

sept flood

Image from the Orange County Register

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