Flood Damage >> Floodplain

How are communities involved in the Floodplain Insurance Study process? Prior to engaging community officials, FEMA coordinates with other Federal agencies (e.g., U.S. Corps of Engineers) to identify and gather existing data that may inform FIS development. 

FEMA then holds Discovery Meetings with community officials and other interested parties to review the Floodplain data and obtain all additional relevant information to ensure that the FIS is as valuable and accurate as possible. Following the Discovery Meeting, FEMA determines where FIS projects will proceed. 

FEMA continues to engage communities Floodplain throughout FIS process with: Resilience Meetings, where floodplain risk awareness and mitigation planning are discussed; An optional Floodplain Study Review Meeting, where draft floodplain risk products are presented to community officials.

A Consultation Coordination Officer (CCO) Meeting/Open House where the preliminary FIRM, FIS, and related Floodplain risk products are shared with community officials and citizens. Communities are given the opportunity to review the preliminary maps and provide comments and appeals on the engineering and mapping that went into the map. 

Once maps are finalized, communities must adopt the final map to stay in good standing with the NFIP. 84. What is the difference between a Floodplain Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) and a Floodplain Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)? A Floodplain Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) is based on approximate data and identifies the SFHAs within a community. 

It is used in the NFIP's Emergency Program for floodplain management and insurance purposes. A FIRM or Digital Floodplain Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) is normally issued following a floodplain risk assessment conducted in connection with a community's Floodplain conversion to the NFIP's Regular Program. 

If a detailed assessment, Floodplain termed a Floodplain Insurance Study (FIS) (see the answer to Question 82 for an explanation of the FIS process), has been performed, the FIRM will show Base Floodplain Elevations (BFEs) and insurance risk zones in addition to floodplain boundaries. The FIRM may also show a delineation of the regulatory floodplain. 

After the effective date of the FIRM, the community's floodplain management ordinance must be in compliance with appropriate Regular Program requirements. Actuarial rates, Floodplain based on the risk zone designations shown on the FIRM, are then applied for newly constructed, substantially improved, and substantially damaged buildings. 

How are floodplain hazard areas and Floodplain levels determined? Floodplain hazard areas are determined using statistical analyses of records of river flow, storm tides, erosion, wave heights, and rainfall; information obtained through consultation with the community; floodplain topographic surveys; and coastal, hydrologic, and hydraulic analyses. 

The FIS covers those areas subject to floodplain from rivers and streams, along coastal areas and lakeshores, and/or shallow floodplain areas. 86. What is the role of the local community in its Floodplain hazard assessment? Community officials, FEMA representatives, and the selected contractor meet to discuss the areas to be studied and the level of study required prior to the study. 

FEMA works closely with community officials and the contractors before and during the study to obtain all relevant Floodplain information and to obtain community input before the FIRM and collateral FIS report are published. Additionally, these parties meet to discuss technical and administrative procedures and ensure accurate study results. 

Community officials also hold public meetings to explain the assessment process to the public. 87. What Floodplain hazard zones are shown on the FIRM and what do they mean? Several areas of floodplain hazard are commonly identified on the DFIRM and FIRM. 

One of these areas is the SFHA, which is defined as the Floodplain area that would be inundated by the floodplain event having a 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. The 1-percent-annual-chance floodplain is also referred to as the "base floodplain." 

SFHAs are labeled as Zone A, Zone AO, Zone AH, Zones A1–A30, Zone AE, Zone 99, Zone AR, Zone AR/AE, Zone AR/AH, Zone AR/AO, Zone AR/A1–A30, Zone AR/A, Zone V, Zone VE, and Zones V1–V30. Moderate floodplain hazard areas, labeled Zone B, are also shown on the FIRM or DFIRM and are the Floodplain areas between the limits of the base floodplain and the 0.2-percent-annual-chance floodplain. 

The areas of minimal floodplain hazard, which are the areas outside the SFHA and Floodplain higher than the elevation of the 0.2-percent-annual-chance floodplain, are labeled Zone C. On new and revised maps, Zone X is used in place of Zones B and C. An unshaded Zone X holds the same meaning as the labeled Zone B. 

A shaded Zone X can mean any of the following: the area is in the 0.2 floodplain; is protected by a levee; Floodplain is subject to inundation by a floodplain event having a 1 percent chance of reaching less than a 1.0-foot depth; is subject to inundation by a 1-percent-annual chance floodplain within an area of less than 1 square mile; or is subject to inundation by a 1-percent-annual-chance floodplain determined using future conditions. 

The definitions for the various floodplain hazard areas are below. Zone V: Primary frontal dunes and Floodplain areas along coasts subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance floodplain event with additional hazards associated with storm-induced waves. Because detailed coastal analyses have not been performed, no BFEs or floodplain depths are shown. 

Mandatory floodplain insurance purchase requirements apply. Zones VE and V1–V30: Primary frontal dunes and Floodplain areas along coasts subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance floodplain event with additional hazards due to storm-induced velocity wave action. BFEs derived from detailed hydraulic coastal analyses are shown within these zones. 

Mandatory Floodplain insurance purchase requirements apply. Zone VE is used on new and revised maps in place of Zones V1–V30. Zone A: Areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance floodplain event. Because detailed hydraulic analyses have not been performed, no BFEs or floodplain depths are shown. 

Mandatory floodplain insurance purchase requirements apply. Zones AE and A1–A30: Areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual chance Floodplain event determined by detailed methods. BFEs are shown within these zones. Mandatory floodplain insurance purchase requirements apply. (Zone AE is used on new and revised maps in place of Zones A1–A30.) 

Zone AH: Areas subject to inundation by 1-percent-annual-chance shallow Floodplain (usually areas of ponding) where average depths are 1–3 feet. BFEs derived from detailed hydraulic Floodplain analyses are shown in this zone. Mandatory floodplain insurance purchase requirements apply.

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