Wednesday, 30 March 2016 16:05

FEMA releases final New Orleans flood insurance rate maps--many properties off special hazard areas

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The Hurricane Katrina saga-ten plus years, has hit another milestone.

Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the final Flood Insurance Rate Maps for New Orleans.  According to the Landrieu administration, in a press release, the maps remove many properties from Special Flood Hazard Areas. 

The release of the finalized Flood Insurance Rate Maps for New Orleans ensures that required flood elevations are correctly mapped for our residents for the first time in years,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “The City fought hard to guarantee the accuracy of these Flood Maps so that the actual risk was appropriately calculated. As a result of significant improvements in drainage and flood protection, flood insurance will bemore affordable for many area residents. This success would not be possible without strong partnerships with FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, our congressional delegation and the local community.”

The final Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map indicates areas that have been changed from a Special Flood Hazard Area, “A zones,” to a non-hazard areas, “X zones,” due to the reconstruction of the hurricane risk reduction system and significant drainage improvements following Hurricane Katrina.

The cost of flood insurance in Special Flood Hazard Areas is cheaper than in areas with a higher statistical risk of flooding. Any changes to homeowners and business owners’ insurance payments would be made through their insurance companies.

After the City receives the Letter of Final Determination from FEMA, the City has six months to formally adopt the maps. The City plans to adopt the final flood maps during the summer, in advance of this legal deadline, in order to save builders and renovators in insurance and construction costs. City Council is expected to vote in June or July on ordinances governing new construction as it relates to the final flood maps. 

(Landrieu administration Press release)



In November 2015, FEMA ruled in favor of the City’s appeal of the 2014 Revised Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps, which incorrectly placed Algiers Point area within a flood hazard area and had not taken into account significant improvements completed by the City and Sewerage and Water Board since the revised maps were developed. The revision to the flood map helped make flood insurance more affordable for area residents. The City appealed the 2009 Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps in 2013 indicating that the Base Flood Elevations that FEMA’s data established did not match actual ground elevation in the City and did not account for the presence of elevated railroad tracks in Venetian Isles.




The City’s Department of Safety and Permits is evaluating adjustment of the City’s building code requirements for elevation to ensure maximum protection for people and property. The City's building code currently requires structures to be built at least 18 inches above grade, which may not be the base flood elevation required by the new flood maps. If changes are made to the requirement, it would only affect new construction or substantial improvements to existing buildings.




To see the final flood map, click here.

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