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In this Issue of Welcome to the Flood Zone:

Announcements: NFIP Extension and Expired Elevation Certificate Form
In the News: "Dutch Flood Control Expert Has Tough Love for Atlantic City", "Houses Intact After Hurricane Michael Were Often Saved by Low-Cost Reinforcements"
Resources: "The Challenges of Global Flood Hazard Mapping and Prediction", "Winter Flooding" and "Flood After Fire: The Increased Risk"
NFIP Guidance: Summary of NFIP Changes Effective January 1, 2019
History Corner: Falmouth, Maine turns 300!
Real Estate Corner: "Old Orchard Beach Appeals Flood Insurance Rate Map Changes"

Banner Image: Photo from "5 Things You Need to Know to Prevent Basement Flooding in Winter",, January 4, 2016.



The NFIP has been granted a very short-term extension - 1 week. Congress has until this Friday, December 7th to reauthorize it again. The U.S. Senate passed a measure for a six-month reauthorization, which will extend funding until May 31, 2019. It is currently undetermined if the House will follow suit.

FEMA's Elevation Certificate (FEMA Form 086-0-33) expired on November 30th. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget has not approved the new form yet, but the Association of State Floodplain Managers has been informed by FEMA to continue to use the current form; a FEMA Bulletin should be forthcoming.


In the News

Dutch Flood Control Expert Has Tough Love for Atlantic City

By Michelle Brunetti, Press of Atlantic City, October 24, 2018

Dutch flood control expert, Edgar J. Westerhof, spoke at the 14th annual conference of the New Jersey Association for Floodplain Management this fall, about floodplain management in the Netherlands versus the United States.

"The future of this area is about tough decisions, Westerhof said of Atlantic City, as coastal areas adjust to an expected 4-foot to 8-foot sea-level rise by 2100, and to regular nuisance flooding at every high tide by about 2030. “This is not going to be a pleasure cruise."

Atlantic City and other barrier islands will have to identify the areas most important to protect — those with the greatest environmental, economic and cultural assets — and put financial resources into natural and constructed barriers that will allow people to live and work there.

Read more!

Houses Intact After Hurricane Michael Were Often Saved By Low-cost Reinforcements

By P. Sullivan, F. Sellers, and E. Wax-Thibodeaux, The Washington Post, October 17, 2018

The houses still standing in the storm-ravaged neighborhoods of Florida’s Panhandle are conspicuous for their presence. Sticking up from the rubble like one remaining tooth in a jawful of decay, each one is a haunting reminder of what used to exist around it.

In many cases, they were saved by additional strategically placed nails, some small metal connectors and window shutters that created a sealed package — low-cost reinforcements that determined whose home survived and whose was destroyed by the power of Hurricane Michael.

After Hurricane Andrew, which hit Florida in 1992, the state instituted a stricter building code in the early 2000s that required new buildings to use tougher nails and have more puncture-resistant walls, among other changes. But industry experts say that homeowners can go further in strengthening their homes without spending tens of thousands of dollars.

Read more!



flood book

The Challenges of Global Flood Hazard Mapping and Prediction

The American Geophyscial Union recently published a book which describes the latest tools and technologies for modeling, mapping, and predicting large-scale flood risk. This article provides a Q&A narrative with one of the editors of the book, addressing some common questions about the field, such as "how have developments in remote sensing technology improved the accuracy of flood monitoring and prediction?"

Click here to view the article.

winter flooding

Winter Flooding

A number of conditions can cause winter flooding, including coastal flooding, ice jams and rapid snow melt. Winds generated from winter storms can cause widespread tidal flooding and severe beach erosion along coastal areas. Long cold spells can also cause the surface of rivers to freeze, leading to ice jams. Sudden thaws of a heavy snow pack can also lead to flooding.

Check out FEMA's Fact Sheet to learn how you can prepare.

flood after fire

Flood After Fire: The Increased Risk

Large-scale wildfires dramatically alter the terrain and ground conditions. Normally, vegetation absorbs rainfall, reducing runoff. However, wildfires leave the ground charred, barren, and unable to absorb water, creating conditions ripe for flash flooding and mudflow. Flood risk remains significantly higher until vegetation is restored—up to 5 years after a wildfire.

Read more!


NFIP Guidance - January 1, 2019 Changes

Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs): Premiums will increase 8 percent, with a total
increase of 6 percent.

A99 and AR Zone Policies eligible for the PRP: Premiums will increase 8 percent,
with a total increase of 6 percent.

Properties Newly Mapped into the SFHA: Newly Mapped policies are initially charged PRP premiums during the first year following the effective date of the map change. Annual increases to these policies result from the use of a “multiplier” that varies by the year of the map change; this multiplier is applied to the base premium before adding the ICC premium. The RFA is added after the ICC premium, and this subtotal is the amount subject to the annual premium rate increase cap. The HFIAA surcharge, probation surcharge (if applicable), and the FPF will be added to the premium; they are not subject to the cap on annual premium rate increases. As a result of increases to the multiplier that will be effective January 1, 2019, premiums for Newly Mapped policies will increase 15 percent, with a total increase of 11 percent.

Click here to view the full Summary of the NFIP Changes Effective April 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019.

falmouth map

History Corner

Happy 300th to the Town of Falmouth, Maine!

"Falmouth was officially incorporated in November 1718. Its boundaries included today’s Portland, South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Westbrook, and Falmouth. Falmouth, as we know it today, was located within this larger community and sometimes referred to as New Casco. Most families chose to settle in the populated Falmouth Neck, today’s Portland, but a few carved out homes in the dangerous and unprotected area along the Presumpscot River and near Mussel Cove. From the1720s on, settlers flooded into Maine."

Read more from "The History of Falmouth".

for sale

Real Estate Corner

LOCAL: Old Orchard Beach Appeals Flood Insurance Rate Map Changes, October 29, 2018

"Old Orchard Beach filed a formal appeal of the proposed Federal Emergency Management Agency flood plain map on Oct. 26.

Following an analysis of FEMA's proposed maps by Ransom Engineers and Scientists, the town said on its website that its appeal is based upon information it believes is scientifically more correct than the information used by FEMA in the development of the proposed floodplain maps."

Read more!


December Flood Funny

flood funny dec

Image by: David Ford, The Daily Chronicle, May 14, 2011

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