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 "FEMA Releases the Building Codes Adoption Playbook"
Real Estate Corner: "Flood Risk Ratings: Translating Risk to Future Costs Helps Homebuyers and Renters Grasp the Odds"
In the News: "Hundreds of Thousands Drop Flood Insurance as Rates Rise", "'We Thought We Were Safe': Kentucky Disaster Shows How US is Ill-prepared and Under-insured for Devastating Floods" and "America's Summer of Floods: What Cities Can Learn From Today's Climate Crises to Prepare for Tomorrow's"
Resources: "FEMA and ASFPM Launch Free Online NFIP 101 Training" and "Floodplain Management Performance Fiscal Year 2019 – Fiscal Year 2021"
Climate Corner: "Risk of Catastrophic Megafloods has Doubled in California, Study Finds" and "Here Are All the Positive Environmental Stories from 2022 So Far"

Banner Image: Sea level rise is turning nuisance flooding into a “sunny day” event  —  high-tide flooding that occurs even without a storm. Image from "U.S. High Tide Flooding Breaks Records in Multiple Locations. Trend Expected to Continue into 2023 and Beyond" (NOAA)


Maine NFIP Corner

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator

FEMA Releases the Building Codes Adoption Playbook

In November 2020, FEMA's landmark study, Building Codes Save: A Nationwide Study, and its accompanying brochure, Protecting Communities and Saving Money, made the case for why communities should proactively adopt and enforce natural hazard-resistant building codes. The results spoke for themselves: an estimated reduction in property losses of $132 billion (based on forecasted consistent growth associated with using modern building codes from 2000-2040) nationwide.

In August 2022, FEMA published the Building Codes Adoption Playbook for officials interested in increasing community resilience and reducing loss from natural hazards by adopting the latest editions of model building codes.

Click here to download a PDF of the 33-page "Building Codes Adoption Playbook For Authorities Having Jurisdiction" (FEMA P-2196)

for sale

Real Estate Corner

Flood Risk Ratings: Translating Risk to Future Costs Helps Homebuyers and Renters Grasp the Odds

By: Melanie Gall, Christopher Emrich, and Marie Aquilino, The Conversation, July 28, 2022

Studies show that people rely on personal experience as the dominant driver when considering risk. In the absence of having personally experienced a flood or wildfire damage, they need actionable and understandable information.

People do not ignore risk ratings per se, but the point at which information motivates people to take protective actions varies.

The motivation hurdle is lower for people with past experience, those who are aware of the risks and receptive to this kind of information, and those who have the financial resources to choose safer communities.

For others, the hurdle can be much higher. They might struggle with common decision biases, such as oversimplifying the severity of the risk, which leads to either an overestimation or underestimation of the threat depending on the type of hazard, focusing on today rather than the future, or simply assuming nothing bad is going to happen. They might just follow what others do – which research finds is what most of us do when deciding on a home.

Click here to read the full article.


In the News

Hundreds of Thousands Drop Flood Insurance as Rates Rise

By: Thomas Frank, E&E News Climate Wire, August 17, 2022

Records reviewed by E&E News show that more than 425,000 people have discontinued the coverage they had through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program since October, when FEMA began to raise rates on millions of properties to reflect flood risk more accurately. FEMA also lowered premiums on hundreds of thousands of properties where rates were too high.

The NFIP provides most of the nation’s flood insurance and has been trying for years to increase the number of households with flood coverage as climate change and development intensify flood damage. Flood insurance is sold separately from homeowners’ insurance policies.

But FEMA’s own records and interviews with insurance agents indicate that so far, the restructuring is having the opposite effect, prompting some people to let their policies expire when faced with higher insurance premiums.

Click here to read the full article.


Homes are seen submerged in floodwaters in Jackson, Ky., on July 28, 2022. (Leandro Lozada/AFP/Getty Images)

'We Thought We Were Safe': Kentucky Disaster Shows How US is Ill-prepared and Under-insured for Devastating Floods

By: Casey Tolan, CNN, August 15, 2022

Even more up-to-date and accurate flood maps wouldn't necessarily have led to far more people in Eastern Kentucky getting flood insurance because many residents don't have mortgages that would have required them to buy it, experts said. In less affluent rural areas like the flooded Kentucky counties, new housing construction is rare, and many homes are passed on to family members instead of being sold.

Click here to read the full article.

America's Summer of Floods: What Cities Can Learn From Today's Climate Crises to Prepare for Tomorrow's

By: Richard B. Rood, The Conversation, August 25, 2022

Floods are complex events, and they are about more than just heavy rain. Each community has its own unique geography and climate that can exacerbate flooding, so preparing to deal with future floods has to be tailored to the community.

The increasing risks affect not only engineering standards, but zoning laws that govern where homes can be built and building codes that describe minimum standards for safety, as well as permitting and environmental regulations.

By addressing these issues now, communities can anticipate and avoid damage rather than only reacting when it’s too late.

Click here to read the full article.



Water Background - Copy

FEMA and ASFPM Launch Free Online NFIP 101 Training

Local officials must know the basic requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for their communities. However, many do not have time to attend an in-person course that lasts four days or more. Therefore, FEMA’s Floodplain Management Training, Education, and Development Committee has launched a new online NFIP 101 course.

This training is hosted in partnership with ASFPM and will help new and experienced floodplain administrators, emergency managers, elected officials, and others learn more about the NFIP and its requirements. New floodplain administrators will also learn how floodplain management decisions affect insurance, health, and public safety.

NFIP 101: Introduction to Floodplain Management is free and does not require ASFPM membership.

Click here to learn more or register for the class, either for professional credit or as a refresher.

Floodplain Management Performance Fiscal Year 2019 – Fiscal Year 2021

FEMA Floodplain Management has published a new video to the FEMA YouTube channel, titled "Floodplain Management Performance Fiscal Year 2019 – Fiscal Year 2021," celebrating the successes and impact of the program transformation so far.

Noted successes and statistics include increased engagement with communities, influencing non-participating communities to join the NFIP, assisting communities in adopting updated floodplain management regulations as well as higher standards, and bringing communities into compliance.

This video was developed to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of the Floodplain Management Program among state and tribal partners, regional staff and leadership.

Click here to view the 1:33 video on YouTube.


Climate Corner

Death valley

This image shows flood destruction in the Death Valley national park in August 2022. Photograph: National Park Service/AFP/Getty Images

Risk of Catastrophic Megafloods has Doubled in California, Study Finds

By: Gabrielle Canon, The Guardian, August 12, 2022

Driven by the climate crisis, exceedingly rare megafloods will become more common – and more catastrophic – according to a new study that found their likelihood has already doubled in California.

The unexpected threat lingers even as browning hillsides, fallowed fields and bathtub ring-laden reservoirs serve as a constant reminder of the drought disaster in the state, which may be woefully unprepared when the coin inevitably flips.

Click here to read the full article.

paper battery

Researchers have developed a paper battery with a water switch that could be used to power single-use disposable electronics. Click the photo to learn more!

Now for Some GOOD Climate News!

Here Are All the Positive Environmental Stories from 2022 So Far

By: Marthe de Ferrer and EuroNews, Updated: August 15, 2022

Eco-anxiety, climate doom, environmental existential dread - as green journalists, we see these terms used a lot - and often feel them ourselves.

There's a lot to be worried about when it comes to the climate and nature crises, but when a sense of hopelessness becomes the overarching emotion, apathy begins to creep in too. Last year three environmental educators, all part of EcoTok, penned this excellent piece for us about dealing with eco-anxiety and the need to remain hopeful - or "stubbornly optimistic", as Christiana Figueres puts it.

The media has a huge part to play in combatting climate doom. It's our job to be truthful and accurate in our reporting, not trying to downplay the severity of the situation or greenwash reality. But it's also our job to show that there is hope!

Click here to learn about all the positive environmental stories from 2022 so far, brought to you by EuroNews.Green.


September Flood Funny

east coast temps

Image by Dave Granlund

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