Welcome to the Flood Zone! A nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and edu

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Welcome to the Flood Zone!

A nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and educational opportunities. If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, simply click the unsubscribe link in the footer of this message.

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Message from Jim

Coincidentally, two Certified Floodplain Managers and friends, Steve Samuelson, from the Kansas Department of Agriculture, and Sue Baker, State of Maine NFIP Coordinator, both conveyed similar concepts to me this month. Steve first forwarded an article entitled “$33K flood insurance bill could sink Union Beach couple, they say” which was followed by a discussion with Sue pertaining to the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA). See the “Resources” section below to better understand the LiMWA.

The article, written by Erin O’Neill and published November 21, 2014, describes how Richard and Sandra Drake of Union Beach, New Jersey had a 55-fold increase in their flood insurance premium from $598/year before Hurricane Sandy, to a current annual renewal premium in excess of $33,000. The Drakes even rebuilt their home three feet above current minimum federal requirements. What happened? During the rebuild, the Drakes complied with all construction requirements for Zone A standards, but federal officials determined that a portion of their home sits in Zone V (Velocity), a higher risk Special Flood Hazard Area. NFIP Regulations require the policy be rated at the higher risk if improvements used as loan collateral fall in more than one zone. Unfortunately, the new flood map which would apparently eliminate Zone V from encumbering their home is not yet effective, and cannot be used at this time for flood insurance premium rating. It is also important to note that even though the town’s construction official is disputing the designation, the determination remains.

This dilemma flows seamlessly into my discussion with Sue. The lines which separate each flood zone is best treated as approximate for design and construction practices, and the higher standards should be considered. Every flood determination which is questionable should be evaluated or challenged with the support of elevations. Relying solely on a horizontal flood determination can cause improper ratings because the insurance industry and municipal permitting process treats these lines as exact to allow for the implementation of minimum program standards. This is perhaps the logic behind the program requiring rating using the higher risk zone when improvements are encumbered by two flood zones. This concept should also be considered when construction occurs within Zone A, adjacent to Zone V.

cost of flooding

The NFIP has an interactive tool (for illustrative purposes only), to estimate the cost of flooding based on size of the home, height of the flood, and cost of items in the house. Click on the photo to check it out!

To further compound this situation, real world wave heights as low as 1.5’ have caused significant damage throughout our country. This is due to Zone A design and construction standards not being created to withstand the many elements of intense coastal storms, and why the Drakes have such a high insurance premium. With a portion of their home falling in Zone V, the potential of them having powerful waves reaching their home is realistic. Their home was not built to a standard which could survive such a storm, therefore, actual risk increases.

If encumbered by two different flood zones or close to a higher risk zone, consider design and construction to the higher standard. This mitigation strategy will protect your investment in many ways, from actual value and repair, lower flood insurance premiums, and even life safety. These lines only aid in determining rate premium based on perceived risk. Maps lie when they are not used for their intended purpose!



Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA) is the inland limit of the area expected to receive 1.5-foot or greater breaking waves during the 1-percent annual chance flood. Recently published Flood Insurance Rate Maps include a line showing the LiMWA. Premiums currently do not account for a building's location relative to the LiMWA. To learn more, check out the following resources:

"Importance of the Limit of Moderate Wave Action (LiMWA)", FEMA Fact Sheet, 2014
"Coastal Zones/LiMWA Animation", Video by Darin Tambascio, January 6, 2013


See the LiMWA highlighted in yellow. It falls within the more inland portion of the Coastal A Zone, where wave heights can reach between 1.5 and 3 feet. Photo from LiMWA FEMA Fact Sheet, 2014.

After our last issue was published we were informed that our link for NFIP Terminology did not work. Please click here to view the comprehensive list from FEMA's website. Our apologies for this inconvenience.


Insurance Corner

FEMA Announces Launch of the Interim Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate

Pursuant to the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, FEMA has launched the Flood Insurance Advocate, an independent office within FEMA, which will focus on assisting the public as they navigate through National Flood Insurance Program processes. Effective as of December 22, 2014, the public can now reach the Acting Flood Insurance Advocate by email until a phone number is established within the month.

BTB Course Flyer

Click on the image to download the full program flyer.

Learning Events

January 20, 2015, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Title: "Land Surveying, Flood Zones, & Real Estate"
Instructor: Jim Nadeau
Sponsor: Beyond the Boundary, the Educational Component of Nadeau Land Surveys
Location: Greater Portland Board of Realtors
Fee: $35
Maximum Registration: 28 people
Continuing Education Credits: 3 Maine Real Estate clock hours



Take your continuing education to the next level, and learn how to assess flood risk both on paper, and on the ground.

February 5, 2015, 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Title: "Coastal Real Estate: Understanding Flood Zones and Recognizing Flood Resilient Properties"
Instructors: Jim Nadeau and Kristen Grant, Marine Extension Associate, of Maine Sea Grant
Sponsor: Beyond the Boundary, the Educational Component of Nadeau Land Surveys
Location: Wells Natural Estuarine Reserve, 342 Laudholm Farm Road, Wells, ME
Fee: $35
Maximum Registration: 60 people
Continuing Education Credits: 3 Maine Real Estate clock hours.


If you have any questions, or would like to sign up to receive Learning Event Notifications, please contact Nikki Oteyza at nikki@nadeaulandsurveys.com


Since the actual central point is located on private property, this monument has been placed about a 1/2 mile away.

History Fun Facts

Have you ever wondered where the geographic center of the contiguous 48 states is? It's in Lebanon, Kansas! This was determined by the Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1918 to be located at Latitude 39 degrees 50 minutes, Longitude 98 degrees 35 minutes, NE 1/4 - SE 1/4 0 S32 0 T2S - R11W. The monument shown to the left was placed in 1940, before Alaska and Hawaii had joined the union.
Photo from www.kansastravel.org

Beginning Point of the U.S. Public Land Survey front

On a similar note, the Beginning Point of the Public Land Survey System, located on the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania, was inaugurated in 1785. The significance of this point, according to the U.S. Department of Interior - National Park Service Register of Historic Places: "Accurate and convenient, the [rectangular land survey] system has been utilized since that time in surveying the millions of acres of land making up the 31 states created out of the public domain. It is tied inextricably to the advance of the frontier and opening of the vast expanses of public land to settlement."

January Flood Funny

new england flood

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