FEMA hosting public meeting on updated floodplain maps

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency will hold a public meeting to discuss its revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) from 2-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17. The meeting will be held at the Ford Park Exhibit Hall, 5115 I-10 South.

Representatives from FEMA, along with the city of Beaumont's floodplain administrator, will be on hand to answer questions and offer guidance on the revised maps. Interactive online maps will be available for review.

As a result of these map changes, some structures in the city of Beaumont may, for the first time, be included in a high-risk flood zone, known as the Special Flood Hazard Area. This may result in those homeowners being required to purchase flood insurance. The city is notifying roughly 1,600 property owners that FEMA has put their property in the floodplain. Many of these properties do not have structures on them. Citizens with property already in the floodplain are encouraged to verify that they are still in it, as a number of areas throughout the city have been removed.

FEMA last updated its FIRM in 2002. The current update is part of a larger effort to create a comprehensive, national digitized map. The revised map for Jefferson County is expected to be finalized by this summer.

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States. It is vital that property owners understand their risk and take advantage of tools or programs available to them, including flood insurance. The FIRM and the associated Flood Insurance Study form the basis for floodplain management measures the City of Beaumont is required to have in effect in order to be eligible for the National Flood Insurance Program.

Additional information, including links to the interactive mapping website, can be found at www.txchart.com.