Over 200 attended a meeting at the Rotary Log Pavilion in Aberdeen Thursday night on new flood insurance rate maps, released recently by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Region 10 Engineer Ted Perkins said while the new maps change what is considered “base flood elevation,” they also pinpoint hazard areas. “The flood event that we rate everything on insurance-wise, and floodplain regulation-wise, is what we call a ’1% flood’ sometimes you hear the term 100-year flood, but it’s really a statistical calculation that has a 1 in 100 chance.” Perkins said you should arrange a meeting with the community flood plain manager if you feel your home was wrongly placed on the new maps. – in Aberdeen that person is Public Works Director Malcom Bowie. “I understand that some of this stuff is difficult. That’s why we want you to know what you can do about it.”
Patti Gow is a Farmer’s Agent in Westport, she said they’ve answered a lot of questions about this. “Not only are we dealing with the mapping, but we’re dealing with the Biggert-Waters Reform Act, where if you’re in a special flood hazard [area], if you were pre-firm, and you did not have to get an elevation certificate – you purchased your home before July of 2012, on your renewal you’re going to see an increase in your rate and it’s going to happen every year.”
Barring legislation in the other Washington slowing the process or lessening the blow, the new maps will begin affecting insurance rates within the year, Gow adds. “If your house is above the base flood elevation – a foot above you’re golden, you’re not going to be looking at huge rates. If you’re on a slab at base flood elevation, you can expect higher rates.”
So what is Base Flood Elevation, and where does your house sit? Gow says you’ll need to get a surveyor to tell you that. “After July of 2012, you can’t get flood [insurance] without an elevation certificate if you are in a special flood hazard zone. An elevation certificate is where a surveyor comes out and takes measurements of your property, determines what the base flood elevation is for where your home is sitting, and then he determines where your first floor would be sitting on that.”
You can find new maps on FEMA’s website at hazards.FEMA.gov Find Patti at www.farmersagent.com, or find someone closer to Aberdeen/Hoquiam at www.durney.com