winter storm

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:

In the News: "What is a Nuisance Flood, Exactly?" and "A Year After Hurricane Harvey, Flawed Flood Risk Maps are Setting Texans Up For Another Disaster"
Resources: "FEMA: Build Back Safer and Stronger", "Interpreting FEMA Flood Maps and Studies in the Coastal Zone" and "Climate Change, Extreme Precipitation, and Flooding: The Latest Science"
NFIP Terminology: National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929
Real Estate Corner: "Agent Talks Flood Insurance Ahead of Map Changes" and "How to Identify (And Avoid) Wetlands"

Banner Image: Waves crashing against homes in the seacoast town of Scituate, MA during a winter storm in January 2018. Photo by: Craig F. Walker, The Boston Globe


In the News


Flooding in the Cleveland Park Metro Station, Washington, D.C., 2016

What Is a Nuisance Flood, Exactly?

By Emily Underwood, EOS, August 20, 2018

"Not all floods are deadly disasters. As anyone who has ever waded through a flooded Washington, D.C., subway station can attest, many floods are merely bothersome, tangling public transportation and causing other daily hassles. As sea levels rise and populations grow, such “nuisance floods” are growing more frequent. A new study proposes a global definition for such floods, in the hope of helping governments, cities, and insurance companies plan for them and cope with rising costs."

Read more!

A Year After Hurricane Harvey, Flawed Flood Risk Maps are Setting Texans Up For Another Disaster

By Wanyun Shao, Popular Science, August 27, 2018

Wanyun Shao, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Alabama, writes, "My recent research shows that even with their flaws, FEMA flood maps influence decisions to purchase flood insurance and overall support for flood mitigation. Policy makers need to seriously consider how to accurately communicate increasing flood risks to the public. Reverting to old flood maps and granting variances to promote development is a recipe for more disasters down the road."

Click here to read the article.



fact sheet

FEMA: Build Back Safer and Stronger

The information on this FEMA Fact Sheet can be used by homeowners and business owners who are recovering after a disaster, to reduce their risk of future disasters and build back safer and stronger. It describes options for managing risk, as well as flood insurance considerations, building considerations, and additional resources to learn more.

Click here to download a PDF of the Fact Sheet.


Interpreting FEMA Flood Maps and Studies in the Coastal Zone

The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management published an excellent document that summarizes the flood zone mapping process. Some of the information is specific to the State of Massachusetts but most of it is applicable on a national level, as it pertains to FEMA. Some of the topics covered are: how flood zones are mapped, limitations of Flood Insurance Rate Maps, delineating V Zones in Primary Frontal Dunes, and requesting changes to FIRMs.

Click here to download a PDF of the publication!


Climate Change, Extreme Precipitation, and Flooding: The Latest Science

The Union of Concerned Scientists has compiled an informative and easy-to-read synopsis of the "latest scientific findings on how and why precipitation and flooding patterns have changed in the United States, a summary of possible future scenarios, and recommendations for how to make communities more flood-resilient." This report focuses primarily on the flooding inland areas.

Click here to download the report!


NFIP Terminology

National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929

NGVD is national standard reference datum for elevations, formerly referred to as Mean Sea Level (MSL) of 1929. NGVD 1929 is used as the reference datum on many Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). It provides a vertical control for surveying and engineering, for measuring elevations above and below mean sea level. Newer, digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps reference the North American Vertical Datum (NAVD) of 1988.

Click here for more information on how these references are used in floodplain management.

for sale

Real Estate Corner

Agent Talks Flood Insurance Ahead of Map Changes

By JoAnn Merrigan, WSAV3, August 7, 2018

This news brief for locals of Savannah, Georgia provides the basic breakdown of what homeowners can expect if a flood map change is set to occur in their area, as well as some tips to be best prepared for it.

Click here to read the article or view video.

How to Identify (And Avoid) Wetlands

Real Estate Blogger, Seth Williams, has a number of how-to videos to show real estate investors different tools available to learn more about a property. As he indicates in the video, these tools don't replace the need for a certified or licensed professional consultant, especially when local, state, or federal permitting approvals are necessary, but they can help you learn more about the potential issues a property could have before you invest in it.

Click on the photo below to open the video on YouTube.


September Flood Funny

sept flood funnyh

Image by: INKCINCT, 2011

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