Flood maps inform communities about the local flood risk and help set minimum floodplain standards for communities to build safely. They determine the cost of flood insurance, which helps property owners to financially protect themselves against flooding. The lower the degree of risk, the lower the flood insurance premium will be. Flood maps are also the basis for flood insurance rates through the National Flood Insurance Program. By law, some may be required to get flood insurance if they live in the highest risk areas. However, flooding can happen anywhere; about twenty percent of all the flood claims come from areas with lower risk.
The process for developing and updating flood maps allows FEMA to work with communities and property owners at all steps of the process to incorporate the best available data into each community’s flood maps. Flood mapping projects typically take from three to five years to complete. Through the Risk Mapping Assessment Planning (MAP) program, flood maps are developed using the best available science developed by engineering experts. The mapping standards are published, vetted, peer revised and updated continuously to ensure they are up to date with current best practices. Through this collaborative process, a community can review, appeal and contribute to the development of a flood map before it is adopted by the community.
There is an infographic available that gives an overview of all that goes into the flood map development process and the key engagement points with community officials. A full text version of the infographic is also available.
More information about flood mapping can be found on www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-flood-hazard-mapping.