Foodplain maps

Many local people are complaining about flood insurance rates and many claim that Re-mapping now places their property in the floodplain even though they have not flooded in the past.

First of all, a lot of people are not aware that the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) are like the Bible only a guide. If you disagree with what they say, try to change them.

A perfect example on how some relatively innocent action could change mapping is a picture in the Sunday paper of the Susquehanna Greenway partnership planting trees in the floodplain in Montgomery.

Changing a floodplain from grass to trees makes a BIG difference in what “N” value will be used used to calculate future flood elevations. Trees slow down water and raise elevations on nearby properties.

Perhaps something similar occurred in local municipalities to show areas of flooding on the new maps that were not shown on old maps. Bottom line people should question the flood studies to determine if the maps are correct or not.

It is possible to also make changes to reduce the calculated elevations of flooding, e.g. KMART in Clinton County had the flood elevation reduced by cutting down all trees/brush on adjacent property and signing a document stating they would keep the property in grass thereby changing the “N” value for calculating flood elevations. Local municipalities should consider looking at their floodplain elevations to determine if they might be revised.

Al Sever


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom