FEMA flood map changes to impact up to 7,000 Henrico addresses

Those impacted to receive a letter with details in March

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently completed reexamining Henrico County’s flood hazard maps. The maps show the areas at high, moderate and low risk of flooding, including the anticipated flood depths during a major flood event.

The new maps impact up to 7,000 addresses throughout Henrico and are already in effect for regulatory purposes. On April 25, they will go into effect to determine where flood insurance is required.

The Department of Public Works is sending letters to all affected addresses in early March with information on how that parcel has been impacted.

The new flood maps replace ones from 2007 and integrate data with the latest modeling technology of water flow and drainage patterns to provide an updated picture of Henrico’s flood risk.

“These FEMA map changes are another step in our ongoing efforts to build a resilient community that values safety, equity and sustainability. They help create a foundation for risk-informed decision-making, enabling us to work together toward mitigating flood risks and ensuring a safe, vibrant future for everyone,” said Kristin Owen, Henrico’s floodplain and dam safety manager. “It’s important for homeowners, renters and business owners to understand what these changes mean and how they may benefit from cost savings on their flood insurance. Now’s the time to get informed to determine the best option for you and your family or business.”

High-risk flood areas are identified as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), which means the flood elevation has a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded each year. Examples of impacts include:

· If the new maps indicate a building on a parcel is added to an SFHA, the property owner will be required by law to purchase a flood insurance policy if they carry a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender. If the owner does not have a mortgage, Owen said, flood insurance is still strongly recommended.

· If a building is newly identified to be in a moderate- or low-risk area, the owner will no longer be required by law to purchase flood insurance if they carry a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender. However, the mortgage lender may still require the owner to have flood insurance coverage. Flood insurance is still strongly recommended in these areas, Owen said, as more than 40% of flood insurance claims come outside an SFHA.

· If a parcel’s SFHA boundaries have increased, floodwaters are estimated to reach a higher level in a major flood than determined before. In addition to an increased flood risk, regulatory and flood insurance purchase requirements may now apply to the property.

Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as private insurance carriers. To help reduce the financial impact of the increased flood risk, the NFIP offers a discount for flood insurance premiums in the first year that buildings are added to an SFHA. Visit floodsmart.gov for details.

For more information on the map changes, visit the Department of Public Works flood map update website or consult the letter sent by the department. In addition, a help desk has been created to assist residents with any questions or concerns. Please call (804) 501-7463 or email [email protected] to access the help desk. Translation services are available.

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