Blog: New Broward flood maps would allow many to drop insurance

Oct 4, 2011

The following article was posted to the House Keys blog on October 4, 2011:

New Broward flood maps would allow many to drop insurance

By Julie Patel

Fewer Broward County homeowners will live in areas that require flood insurance, according to maps based on new proposed risk data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But some homeowners in a few large areas of the county – including parts of Fort Lauderdale, Parkland, Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, Pembroke Pines and Hollywood – that that don’t need flood insurance now would have to get it. That could cost them thousands more for insurance each year.

Mortgage lenders require homeowners who live in high risk FEMA-designated flood areas to carry flood insurance.The Sun Sentinel generated new flood maps using updated information from FEMA. Leonard Vialpando, a manager in Broward County’s Development and Environmental Regulation division, echoed what the maps show: “A substantial number of people who used to be in flood zones requiring insurance are not in the new maps.”

The maps aren’t final yet. Broward County will allow property owners and others to examine the maps at meetings in November and the county is preparing an online searchable map with the new flood information. A 90-day appeal process will start in December. The maps are expected to be final next year.

The new maps represent the first comprehensive review of flood zones in Broward in 14 years, and they were created using updated comparisons of land and water elevations and better technology for identifying flood hazards, according to the county.

FEMA officials say they’ve worked closely with the county over several years to update the maps. “The maps incorporate verifiable data into FEMA’s engineering models so that they better reflect the risk for flooding,” said Brad Loar, the mitigation division director for FEMA’s Southeast region.

Preliminary updated flood risk maps for Palm Beach County are expected in September 2012, according to FEMA.

FEMA updated Miami-Dade County maps in 2009, putting some new residential areas in flood zones and moving others out.

While most of Broward was previously divided into zones that made up large swaths of land, the new maps appear more precise in how flood risk is estimated. If the maps are approved, flood insurance would be required in:

Most coastal areas east of Federal Highway;

Other scattered parts of coastal cities, Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Hollywood and Hallandale;

Smaller parts of cities not on the coast, Lauderhill, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Cooper City and Sunrise;

Most of Southwest Ranches, western areas of Plantation and Davie, and large parts of Miramar, Parkland and Tamarac; and

Most areas within a mile or so of U.S. 27 in western Broward County, the western parts of Weston, Southwest Ranches, Pembroke Pines and Miramar.

Click on the image below to see an enlarged version of rough depictions of the old map and the proposed new map, based on data from FEMA and Broward County.

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