Flood Hazard Mapping FAQs
The following information has been provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For a copy of the information, please click here.
For any questions concerning flood hazard mapping or LOMAs, please contact FEMA Map Information exchange's toll-free information line at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627).
More information is available online at: http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/fhm/fq_genhm.shtm.
What factors determine flood insurance premiums?
How can I purchase flood insurance?
Will LOMAs issued under the Old Map be valid under the New Map?
How can I request a LOMA?
To obtain a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), the requester must complete a LOMA application form that is downloadable from: http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/fhm/dl_mt-ez.shtm. For a LOMA to be issued removing a structure from the Special Flood Hazard Area, federal regulations require the lowest adjacent grade be at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). There is no fee for FEMA's review of the LOMA request, but the requester of a LOMA must provide all the information needed for a review. Elevation information certified by a licensed surveyor is often required if an elevation certificate is not available.
What is the NFIP?
Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)due to escalating costs to taxpayers for flood disaster relief. The NFIP is based on the agreement that if a community practices sound floodplain management, the Federal Government will make flood insurance available to residents in that community. FEMA maps include the Special Flood Hazard Area provided that it complies with local floodplain ordinances that meet NFIP criteria.
Is there any recourse if I do not agree with the new map?
Although FEMA uses the most accurate flood hazard information available, limitations of scale or topographic definition of the source maps used to prepare the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) may cause small areas that are at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) to be inadvertently shown within Special Flood Hazard Area boundaries. Such situations may exist in Prince George County. For these situations, FEMA established the Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) process to remove such structures from the Special Flood Hazard Area.
What if a Structure is Shown in a Different Flood Zone on the New Map?
What Happens After the Appeal Period?
FEMA will issue a Letter of Final Determination and then provide the community with six months to adopt up-to-date floodplain management ordinances. If the floodplain ordinances in effect are satisfactory, they can be submitted in their current form. If ordinances need to be updated, communities should seek assistance from their State NFIP Coordinator or the FEMA office in Philadelphia. After the six-month compliance period, the new Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Map will become effective.
What is an appeal?
Some flood studies result in new or revised Base Flood Elevations (BFEs). During the 90-day appeal period, community officials and others may object to the accuracy of the proposed BFEs. According to Federal Regulations, "The sole basis of appeal... shall be the possession of knowledge or information indicating that the elevations proposed by FEMA are scientifically or technically incorrect." Communities should coordinate4 with the FEMA Philadelphia office before submitting an appeal.
What is a Protest?
Challenges received during the appeal period that do not address proposed Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) are considered protests. Protests include, but are not limited to: challenges of floodplain boundary delineations based on more detailed topographic data; challenges of proposed regulatory floodway boundaries based on better modeling; request that a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F), or LOMR be incorporated; base map errors; and omissions. Appeals and protests must be supported by scientific or technical data, provide proof of error, and provide sufficient data to make revisions. Certification of data by a Registered Professional Engineer or Licensed Land Surveyor may be required.
How do I find out if a structure or property is located in the Special Flood Hazard Area?
You can locate a building or lot by consulting the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), or by contacting the Prince George County Department of Planning and Zoning at (804)722-8678.
For help interpreting a FIRM, telephone the FEMA Map Assistance Center (FMAC) at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627).
Why are the maps being updated?
All communities within Prince George County are now being shown on a single set of countywide FIRMs (Flood Insurance Rate Map). The flood hazards are shown on an updated orthophoto base map that will greatly improve the accuracy of floodplain determinations.
What is a FIRM?
When FEMA maps flood hazards in a community or county, two products are produced -- a Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report and a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). An FIS is a narrative report of the community's flood hazards that contains prior flooding information, descriptions of the flooding sources, information on flood protection measures, and a description of the hydrologic and hydraulic methods used in the study. A FIRM illustrates the extent of flood hazards in a community by depicting flood risk zones and the Special Flood Hazard Area, and is used with the FIS report to determine the floodplain development regulations that apply in each flood risk zone and who must buy flood insurance. FIRMs also depict other information including Base (1% annual chance) Flood Elevations (BFEs) or flood depths, floodways, and common physical features such as roads.