The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has proposed updates to the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for DeKalb County, so the next 90 days are specified for submitting any comments or appeals and to learn about local flood risks and future flood insurance implications.

The preliminary maps may be viewed online at Alabama’s Flood Map Website, https://alabamaflood.com/map, and on the FEMA Flood Map Changes Viewer, http://msc.fema.gov/fmcv.

DeKalb County’s preliminary flood insurance rate map was released in September 2020. On Oct. 27, 2020, a preliminary FIRM Community Coordination meeting was held to review the map and discuss updates to local floodplain management ordinance and flood insurance. The new Flood Insurance Rate Map is expected to become effective and flood insurance requirements take effect in Summer 2022.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding. There are cost saving options available for those newly mapped into a high-risk flood zone. Learn more about your flood insurance options by talking with your insurance agent and visiting https://www.floodsmart.gov.

In a press release, FEMA’s Neily Chapman encouraged community stakeholders to review the updated maps to learn about local flood risks and potential future flood insurance implications and to submit any comments and appeals during the upcoming 90-day appeal and comment period.

The updated maps were produced in coordination with local officials, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Office of Water Resources and FEMA. Significant community review of the maps has already taken place, but before the maps become final, community stakeholders can identify any concerns or questions about the information provided and submit appeals or comments.

The 90-day appeal period will begin on or around April 21, 2021. Residents may submit an appeal if they perceive that modeling or data used to create the map is technically or scientifically incorrect. A FEMA map specialist is available to speak by telephone; toll free, at 1-877-FEMA-MAP (1-877-336-2627) or by emailing FEMA-FMIX@fema.dhs.gov.

An appeal must include technical information, such as hydraulic or hydrologic data, to support the claim, and must produce water surface elevations that differ from those published on the preliminary maps.

Appeals cannot be based on the effects of proposed development projects or development projects that were completed after the start of this flood map update.

If property owners see incorrect information that does not change the flood hazard information—such as a missing or misspelled road name in the Special Flood Hazard Area or an incorrect corporate boundary—they can submit a written comment.

The next step in the mapping process is the resolution of all comments and appeals. Once they are resolved, FEMA will notify communities of the effective date of the final maps.

Submit appeals and comments by contacting your local floodplain administrator: Ben Luther, County Engineer and Floodplain Administrator, DeKalb County, bluther@dekalbcountyal.us, (256) 845-8584.

Questions may be directed to the FEMA Region 4 Office of External Affairs at (770) 220-5226 or at fema-r4-external-affairs@fema.dhs.gov.

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