2015 Map Updates

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for communities in Washington County.  Below is a sample post card that was mailed to affected property owners.

Why revise the maps?

The revised maps are part of a multi-year project to re-examine Washington County flood zones and develop detailed, digital flood hazard maps.  As a result, you and other property owners will have up-to-date, reliable, internet-accessible information about your flood risk.  By showing the extent to which areas of the County and individual properties are at risk for flooding, the flood maps help business owners and residents make informed decisions about personal safety and protecting their financial stability.

How do I view the maps?

To view the preliminary maps, visit www.mdfloodmaps.com and follow these instructions.

How will these changes affect you?

If the building(s) on your parcel are within the 100-year floodplain (Special Flood Hazard Area zones "A" or "AE" on the FIRM) and you have a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender, then by federal law, your lender must require you to carry flood insurance when these flood maps become effective.  Even if your property is not mortgaged or if your building isn't within the floodplain, it may be advisable to consider carrying flood insurance.

If the building(s) on your parcel are outside the FEMA floodplain (Special Flood Hazard Area zones "A" or "AE" on the FIRM) and you have a mortgage from a federally regulated lender, you will no longer be required by federal law to maintain flood insurance when the flood maps become effective.  Your lender still does retain the right to require flood insurance if they feel it is necessary.  While flood insurance may become optional for your property, keep in mind that the flood risk has only been reduced, not removed.  Lower cost flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program is available in low-to-moderate risk areas and you may also qualify for the even lower cost Preferred Risk Policy.

You are strongly encouraged to speak with your lender or insurance agent as to what kind of financial effect the revised FIRMs will have on you.

If your property is being mapped into a higher-risk area for the first time, you may qualify for a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy Two-Year Eligibility Extension or "grandfathering" options offered by FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program.  For more information on flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov.

What if you believe there is an error on the maps?

As required by law, FEMA will provide public notification regarding the draft FEMA floodplain mapping to area residents by notice published in the local newspaper in the upcoming weeks.  This will begin a 90-day appeal period when citizens will have the opportunity to submit technical and/or scientific data to file an appeal regarding their individual property, or a comment regarding the accuracy of the mapping process in general.

You are encouraged to review the maps immediately to allow enough time to prepare an appeal, if technically warranted.

When do the maps become effective?

Once the appeals and comments are reviewed by FEMA and any needed map changes incorporated, FEMA will issue a Letter of Final Determination.  Six months later, which during that time a local ordinance approving the new FIRM must be adopted, the maps will become effective, as will any new flood insurance requirements.  The map effective date is currently targeted for May 2017.  However, please be aware that starting immediately these flood hazard maps will be used in helping to determine requirements for construction and development.

Where to go for more information?

FEMA NFIP Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Effect that Revised Flood Hazards have on Existing Structures

FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping Fact Sheet for Washington County