PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has released updated flood maps to show which areas throughout Pinellas County are at risk of flooding.
The new preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) "indicates whether properties are in areas of high, moderate or low flood risk" with the help of updated coastal flood modeling.
According to FEMA, the updated FIRM shows flood hazards more accurately than older maps. The last FIRM for Pinellas County was updated in 2009.
"Historically, flooding is one of the most costly natural disasters affecting Pinellas County," said Commission Chairman Kenneth T. Welch. "The modernization of outdated flood maps represents an important step toward increasing public safety by better equipping our residents to make decisions about protecting themselves and their properties."
Property owners are urged to check the new FIRM to know if their property's flood risk is higher or lower than they thought. FEMA says if an owner's risk level changes then their flood insurance rates and requirements may as well.
Check to see if your property is affected:
For a larger view of the preliminary FIRM, click here .
Residents or business owners whose flood zones have changed due to the FEMA updates to the FIRM are asked to fill out a survey to help FEMA identify areas to review.
The updated FIRM is still preliminary and has not yet been officially adopted.
Fema says public meetings will be scheduled in the coming months so that residents and business owners can view the new maps, understand how their properties may be affected and learn more about financial steps that they may need to take to protect their investment.
For more information, visit http://www.pinellascounty.org/flooding/fema_firm.htm .