A new set of floodplain maps shows about 648 Augusta property owners now considered at greater risk for flooding, while about 800 see their risk of a 100-year flood decrease.
While the maps won’t be finalized until the spring of 2019, the risk – or lack of it – is now.
“Know your flood risk, and if your flood risk has increased, buy flood insurance now, because the flood risk is now, not when the maps are adopted,” said city floodplain manager Terri Turner.
A sparsely attended work session saw a handful of property owners meet one-on-one with a team from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to review their status on the new maps. Anyone whose risk increased was sent a letter prior to the session, Turner said.
The new maps, like the ones unveiled in Columbia County in October, replace decades-old maps with new ones developed using more detailed topography and improved analysis of water data, said Haydn Blaize, floodplain unit manager for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The maps showed areas of National Hills see their risk of a 100-year flood go down, while a few areas along Rae’s Creek saw theirs increase. A large addition to the flood zone was Augusta’s Hyde Park neighborhood, Blaize noted. The city is in the process of buying out landowners to make the site a permanent drainage area.
The maps determine whether a homeowner is required to carry flood insurance, but those added can benefit from the FEMA’s “newly-mapped procedure,” which allows homeowners whose risk increases through no fault of their own see their premiums increase gradually, said Bruce Bender, an insurance specialist for Georgia DNR.
Homeowners can look up their address at http://www.georgiadfirm.com/ to check for changes.