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 "New Webpage Explains Flood Resilience to the Public" and "FEMA Region 1 Virtual Mapping 101 Skill-share Workshop"
Real Estate Corner: "Housing Market Slows Retreat from Rising Seas, Bigger Storms"
In the News: "Big Floods Have Washed Out Lewiston and Auburn - Among the Worst Years for Flooding Were 1896, 1936 and 1987", "FEMA Report: Flood Insurance Hikes Will Drive 1M from Market" and "Determining How High Floodwaters Reached Helps Communities Prepare for Future Floods"
Resources: "Guide to Expanding Mitigation - Making the Connection to the Coast", "Effects of Map Changes on Flood Insurance in a Risk Rating 2.0 World" and "Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your Home From Flooding"
Climate Corner: "Researchers Reveal Add-On Benefits of Natural Defenses Against Sea-Level Rise"
Banner Image: Police wade through flood waters looking for those in their cars, following historic rains causing flooding on streets and houses in St. Louis on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. One fatality was reported after a driver was found in his car in 9 feet of water. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI Image from "One Dead in St. Louis City, 70 Rescued in Flooding", Spectrum News, July 26, 2022


Maine NFIP Corner

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator

New Webpage Explains Flood Resilience to the Public

A new FEMA webpage is now available as a one-stop-shop to the public about how to protect themselves and their property from the nation’s number one disaster, flooding. The webpage includes free resources and information to learn about, understand, and take action to reduce flood risk.

Click here to view "Flood Resilience for Homeowners, Renters and Business Owners"

FEMA Region 1 Virtual Mapping 101 Skill-share Workshop
Monday, August 8, 2022
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EDT)

State and local floodplain management and permitting officials are invited to join this FEMA Region 1 workshop to learn about:

The history of the flood mapping program; an overview of Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Insurance Studies; a Map Service Center tutorial; how to rea flood maps and how different flood zones affect local communities; the flood mapping process; the different Letters of Map Change.

Click this link to join the webinar, or call in:
Dial-in: 646-876-9923
Webinar ID: 984 9923 2180
Passcode: 0808

Recommended Preparation: review the National Flood Hazard Layer and FEMA Map Service Center websites.

for sale

Real Estate Corner

Housing Market Slows Retreat from Rising Seas, Bigger Storms

By: Ben Finley, Associated Press, June 18, 2022

Hot real estate markets have made some homeowners wary of participating in voluntary flood buyout programs, impacting efforts to move people away from flooding from rising seas, intensifying hurricanes and more frequent storms.

Flood buyout programs typically purchase flood-prone homes, raze them and turn the property into green space. That can help prevent deaths and health problems associated with flooding, such as mold-related respiratory issues and emotional trauma.

People who take buyouts usually want to relocate to similar homes on higher ground in the same community. But some worry that buyout dollars won’t be enough. Others reject them because private buyers’ offers were too good to turn down. The houses stayed occupied — and at risk.

Click here to read the full article.


In the News

Big Floods Have Washed Out Lewiston and Auburn - Among the Worst Years for Flooding Were 1896, 1936 and 1987

By: Steve Collins, Sun Journal, July 24, 2022

Every now and then, the Androscoggin River rebels against the constraints that normally hold its immense power in check.

The city’s newspapers are full of stories of times when spring freshets and major storms have dumped so much water into the river channel that the volume of water begins to scour the river banks, sometimes washing away buildings and bridges in its rush to the sea.

Every spring, residents of Lewiston and Auburn watch the water gushing over the rocks at the falls, wowed at the sight. But when conditions combine to add even more water to the mix, the river can become something far more spectacular — and terrifying.

Here are some short tales of several of the worst incidents in the history of Lewiston and Auburn.

Click here to read the full article.


Flooding in Lewiston, Maine in 1896

FEMA Report: Flood Insurance Hikes Will Drive 1M from Market

By: Michael Phillis, Associated Press, July 22, 2022

As climate change drives increased flood risk in many parts of the country, FEMA has updated its flood insurance program to more accurately reflect risk, but also make the program more solvent. It’s a response in part to criticism that taxpayers were funding big payouts when coastal mansions in risky locations flooded.

But nine senators from both parties expressed “serious concerns” about the new pricing system in a letter last September, after hearing that the agency’s internal numbers predicted policies would drop off by 20%. The next month FEMA told the AP those figures were “misleading” and “taken out of context” and that on the subject of how many people will be insured “there is no study or report to share.”

Click here to read the full article.


USGS scientist Steve Hannes measures high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Matagorda County, Texas. Photo by Scott Green, USGS.

Determining How High Floodwaters Reached Helps Communities Prepare for Future Floods

By: Communications and Publishing, USGS, July 6, 2022

U.S. Geological Survey experts use a host of different high-tech devices to gather scientific data before, during and after a hurricane or tropical storm makes landfall. They also learn a great deal about flooding from a low-tech, but highly useful source of information: the debris left as stormwaters recede.

These telltale signs of flooding are called high-water marks and they can consist of lines of seeds, leaves, grass, dirt and other debris deposited by floodwaters on things like stream banks, tree trunks, buildings, bridges, and other structures. As soon as conditions permit after a storm, teams of USGS scientists will go to flooded locations to find and measure these marks.

Click here to learn more!



mitigation guide

Guide to Expanding Mitigation - Making the Connection to the Coast

FEMA's "Guide to Expanding Mitigation" is meant to encourage emergency managers, community planners, coastal and floodplain managers, and other decisionmakers to work together. When plans and projects are developed in collaboration, coasts can be managed more holistically. Goals like economic development, environmental protection, and public safety can be better met. This guide explains issues that affect coastal communities and offers resources to help spark ideas for holistic solutions.

Click here to download the 11-page guide.


Effects of Map Changes on Flood Insurance in a Risk Rating 2.0 World

When a community receives a new flood map, many property owners will find that their mapped flood risk
hasn’t changed; however, others will find that the updated, more accurate maps show they have a higher risk (e.g., Zone X to A, Zone A to V, increase in Base Flood Elevation, or BFE) or lower risk (Zone A to X, Zone V to A, decrease in BFE). When this occurs, the top questions a floodplain manager hears revolve around flood insurance; e.g., Do I have to buy flood insurance now? Do I still need flood insurance? How much more expensive is it going to be? With Risk Rating 2.0 (RR 2.0), insurance rating options have changed—and so has the messaging.

Click here to learn more from the Association of State Floodplain Managers!


Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your Home From Flooding

FEMA P-312, 3rd Edition, June 2014

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has prepared this guide specifically for homeowners who want to know how to help protect their homes from flooding. As a homeowner, you need clear information about the options available to you and straightforward guidance that will help you make decisions. This guide gives you both, in a form designed for readers who have little or no experience with flood protection methods or building construction techniques.

Click here to download the 212-page guide.


Climate Corner

Researchers Reveal Add-On Benefits of Natural Defenses Against Sea-Level Rise

By: Sarah Cafasso, Stanford University. Featured in Science Daily, June 9, 2022

Investments in the environment are paying off for a California county where projects designed to restore the natural environment are also buffering the impacts of sea-level rise, according to a new study by Stanford researchers. The research, published June 9 in Urban Sustainability, shows that nature-based solutions, such as conserving marshlands and restoring beaches, can be as effective as concrete seawalls at protecting against sea-level rise while providing extra benefits. Those benefits, such as opportunities for recreation, climate change mitigation through carbon storage, and nutrient pollution reduction, provide incentives for policymakers to prioritize nature-based solutions for sea-level rise.

Click here to read the full story.


August Flood Funny


Image by Nate Beeler, from The Evening Tribune, depicting the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. September 6, 2017.

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