Are you in a flood zone?
If you are a map fan, check out FEMA’s Map Service Center to see whether you’re in a flood zone. The map is designed for ordinary citizens, but also for real estate and insurance specialists, who can create printouts coordinated with the Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map.
Starting in May, 2013, the map service is being expanded and upgraded. But in the meanwhile, you can do what I did to check out your own home and community. It’s easy!
Go to www.msc.fema.gov.
Do a “Product Search” by filling in your address. A second screen will come up identifying your general area (county). Click on “View” and be patient as the data loads. Ultimately, you’ll be rewarded with a very small map of your area!
You can adjust the scale at the top of the screen. (I changed the 4% to 15 % and that gave me a much better size map, and I could read most of the street names.) You can also click on the “pan” button on the left (looks like a little hand) and move the map around. (Again, be patient since it’s a lot of data and the map re-adjusts slowly.)
Once you’ve found the right area and the right level of detail, search for overlays. In our example, the gray dotted area (left arrow in the illustration) indicates a 500-year-flood zone, and the bright blue color (right arrow in the illustration) indicates a 100-year-flood zone, which means there’s a 1 percent chance of a 1-foot or higher flood in that area in any given year.
In the illustration, the blue area happens to be a key highway/railroad overpass/underpass. This interchange is about one mile from our neighborhood, so a flood there would definitely impact our emergency response, particularly if an evacuation were called for.
Check out this resource for your neighborhood, and also for your business or place of work. It’s interesting and good information to have.
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