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New flood zones changes could put financial burden on Hillsborough County homeowners

FEMA about to release new flood zone maps
Posted at 4:50 PM, Mar 19, 2019

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Flood zones are changing in Hillsborough County, which could be a major financial burden for tens of thousands of homeowners.

"Frustrated would probably be the big thing because I didn't see this coming,” said homeowner James Patterson.

He's got a mortgage and four kids, two who are in college.

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Patterson could soon have another big bill, but an unexpected one.

"I'm angry of the fact that I was living in a home as far as I know was high and dry. We've never had any rain flood the premises and now it's going to have a red label of 'oh no, it's in a flood zone,'” said Patterson.

Patterson bought his home on West Cleveland because it didn't require expensive flood insurance.

RELATED: Pinellas County flood map changes: Insurance rates may increase

He pays $450 a year anyway just to be safe.

"We moved there on purpose, but we knew it'd be more expensive and so we gauged everything out to make sure we could pay all the bills. That's just a bill I couldn't afford,” he said.

Now according to preliminary maps from FEMA his house is in a flood zone.

It’s a change that's about to affect tens of thousands of homeowners across Hillsborough County.

"You get little puddles and stuff but for the most part, I haven't seen anything too crazy,” said South Tampa homeowner Mason Foster.

Even if you haven't experienced flooding on your street or block, new FEMA flood zone maps could drastically affect your home insurance bill.

"It's a good time to go look up where your address is especially if you're close to a zone,” said Patterson.

FEMA LINKS:

Hillsborough County is also holding three workshops on April 3 and 4 to help guide homeowners.

Scheduled Meetings:

  • April 3: 5 to 8 p.m., Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library, 3910 S. Manhattan Ave. in Tampa
  • April 4: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library, 3910 S. Manhattan Ave. in Tampa
  • April 4: 4 to 7 p.m. Riverview Civic Center, 11020 Park Drive in Riverview
  • April 27: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Town 'N' Country Regional Library, 7606 Paula Dr. in Tampa
  • May 1: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., SouthShore Regional Service Center, 410 30th St. SE in Ruskin
  • May 4: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., SouthShore Regional Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way in Ruskin

"It could put my flood insurance ten times what I'm paying right now,” said Patterson.