Homeowners urged to review updated FEMA flood maps

Newly-updated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) could mean costly flood insurance will be required for some areas of Satellite Beach once considered high and dry.

It’s important for homeowners to know if they have been affected by a change in the maps to a flood zone – called Special Flood Hazard Areas – because revised flood elevations can impact annual flood insurance premiums.

Thanks to more sophisticated mapping technologies and better data, FEMA can now more accurately depict what today’s risks look like for each community, said FEMA spokesman Danon Lucas.

“Knowing where and when map changes occur will help community members understand what insurance options are available to them,” he said.

The next step is a 90-day Appeal and Comments about the preliminary flood risk data. Once all appeals and comments are addressed, a Letter of Final Determination will be issued. Final FIRMs are expected in the summer of 2019.

The changes in flood zones are most likely for homeowners in the South Patrick Drive area that flooded during Hurricane Irma in 2017, said Satellite Beach Development Director John Stone, the city’s flood plain administrator.

“We get people who are on top of the situation and are proactive and want to know. There are others who have their heads in the sand and don’t take action on the process until long after the new maps are final. If they wait and a lender takes out insurance for them, it will be more expensive,’’ said Brevard County’s Flood Plain Administrator Frank Skarvelis. “The premiums could literally go to the moon.”

To view the preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) online at FEMA’s Map Service Center visit the Web site http://msc.fema.gov. 

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