ATLANTA - New flood insurance rate maps will soon go into effect for some communities in the Upper Chattahoochee River Region, specifically Cobb, Douglas, Forsyth, Gwinnett, DeKalb and Fulton counties.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have been working with county and municipal governments over the last several years to incorporate the best available data into these flood maps. The ultimate goal of the maps is to protect property owners and communities by showing the extent of flood risk in their areas. Flood maps also help to determine flood insurance rating and building requirements.
Flood maps for Cobb, Douglas, Forsyth and Gwinnett counties will be effective on March 4; maps for DeKalb County will be effective in May; and maps for Fulton County will be effective in September. Coweta County's flood maps were effective earlier this month. If you live in an area with a new map, visit www.GeorgiaDFIRM.com to find your flood risk online. You can also contact your local floodplain manager with questions about the new maps, and to learn more about flood risks in your community.
State and federal officials say these updated maps are more precise than older maps because better flood hazard and risk data has been incorporated, and the latest science has been used to make them more accurate. Flood risks change over time due to construction, development, environmental changes, floodplain widening or shifting, and other factors. These changes send water flowing in new directions, creating flood risks that didn't exist previously-precisely why flood maps must be updated periodically.
By law, federally regulated or insured mortgage lenders require flood insurance on properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. Even people living in lower risk areas can experience flooding, which is the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S. In fact, about 25 percent of flood insurance claims occur in lower risk flood zones.