Lowndes County Flood Maps Are Changing
Lowndes County’s flood maps to include the cities of Dasher, Hahira, Lake Park, Remerton and Valdosta are being updated and replaced. A multi-year project to develop detailed, digital flood hazard maps for the Withlacoochee Watershed is nearing completion. The new maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), reflect current flooding risks, replacing maps that are based on outdated studies, some which are more than 30 years old. Preliminary maps were recently released and will undergo a several-month review and comment period before they become effective. When the new flood maps become effective, residents and business owners will have up-to-date, Internet-accessible information about their flood risk on a property-by-property basis. Revisions to these mapping products may affect residents and business owners in Lowndes County.
Flooding: A Frequent and Costly Disaster
Flood risks have changed throughout the watershed due to erosion, land use, environmental conditions, and changes in runoff patterns. Flood risks can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, and even property to property. But storms and heavy rains cause increasingly costly impacts to home and business owners throughout the watershed. The first step in reducing potential impacts of flooding is to know your flood risk, and that’s where these new maps can help.
New Maps = Safer Public
The new maps are the result of a cooperative effort involving the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) under Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Lowndes County and local communities. Developed using advanced mapping and modeling technologies and using the latest data available, they are the most detailed, accurate flood maps ever created for this area. County and community officials as well as planners, engineers and builders will use the maps to make important determinations about where and how to build and rebuild to minimize future flood impacts. Residents and business owners can use the maps to learn their risk and make more informed decisions about the financial steps they need to take to reduce the risk of damage and loss due to flooding.
How Will the Changes Affect Residents & Business Owners?
There will be some properties that aren’t affected – their risk remains the same. But there will be others that will be found to be now in a higher risk area (shown on the flood map in zones labeled with a letter starting with “A”), while others will be mapped into a lower risk area (zones labeled “X” on the flood maps). About 470 buildings are likely to be mapped into a higher-risk area than before, and nearly 370 buildings are likely to be mapped into a lower-risk area. Altogether, more than 820 buildings will show some change.
The changes may affect the federal lender requirement for flood insurance. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federally underwritten program provided by about 75 insurance companies and available through licensed insurance agents. Owners of properties mapped into a high-risk area may be required to carry flood insurance as part of their mortgage agreement. The NFIP currently has rating options that can help reduce costs, especially if a policy is purchased before the flood maps become effective.
For More Information
You can view the new preliminary maps to see how your flood risk may have changed, learn how they can affect building and flood insurance requirements and find out what your options are at a Virtual Flood Risk Open House:
Georgia’s Virtual Flood Risk Open House provides information relevant to the proposed changes in flood risks in your community, as well as an opportunity to connect with floodplain management experts from your local jurisdiction, the GA Department of Natural Resources and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In-person virtual meetings are available by appointment only and can be reserved on the website, via the “Connect with Us” page of the Virtual Flood Risk Open House https://www.georgiadfirm.com/VOH/. Appointments will be held between August 4 – August 20, 2021. Please reserve your appointment between July 19 – July 30, 2021.
A 90-day Public Comment period will soon be open to address any submitted appeals and/or comments. After all appeals and comments are addressed, the maps are expected to become effective in mid-2022. At that time, the new insurance requirements will take effect.
To learn more about the preliminary maps, see what areas will change, learn what the insurance options are, and find the schedule for related community meetings, visit www.georgiadfirm.com.
For general information about the upcoming map changes, you can contact:
Lowndes County, Unincorporated Areas, Mike Fletcher, County Engineer, 229.671.2424 or email@example.com
City of Dasher, Mayor G Holton, 229.559.3146 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Hahira, Willie Jones, 229.259.3530 or email email@example.com
City of Lake Park, no change in flood maps.
City of Remerton, Mike Terrell, City Manager, 229.247.2320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Valdosta, Patrick Collins, Director, City Engineering, 229.259.3530 or email@example.com