| Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney and Freeholder Deputy Director Bob Damminger encourage residents to review the county’s new, preliminary flood maps at an “Open House” on January 14 at the County Offices of Government Services.
The new flood maps are the result of Map Modernization, a five-year, $1 billion program mandated by Congress to provide updated, digitized flood maps for 92% of the nation’s population.
The meeting is being hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which developed the new maps in conjunction with Gloucester County flood plain managers and local officials.
The January 14th “Open House” will take place from 4pm to 8pm in the County Offices of Government Services, 1200 North Delsea Drive, Clayton.
The existing flood maps in Gloucester County are more than 25 years old. Gloucester’s new, preliminary flood map was developed using LiDAR, or a Light Detection and Ranging System, which is able to chart land elevations levels to within six inches. The sophisticated technology actually produced a map that reduced the number of structures in the county’s floodplain by 42%, from 3,521 buildings under the current, effective flood map to 2,039 on the new, preliminary map.
But the new technology also expanded the county’s flood plain in some municipalities, particularly Glassboro, Newfield and Deptford. Residents of these communities are strongly encouraged to attend the Open House or to check their status on the new maps at their municipal offices or online, at http://rmc.mapmodteam.com/RMC2/Counties_Gloucester.htm .
Being in a flood zone carries a mandatory flood insurance requirement for all properties that have a mortgage with a federally regulated lender, or have a federally-backed mortgage, such as FHA or VA.
“The first step in protecting yourself and your family against the dangers of flooding is to know which zone you’re in,” said Michael J. Dabney, Mitigation Division Director for FEMA, Region II, which covers New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
“But the single biggest mitigation option is flood insurance,” Dabney said. “If you’re currently out of the flood zone, but are going into it under the new maps, you should buy flood insurance now. That way, your current, less risky flood zone designation can be ‘grandfathered’ in, enabling to get coverage at a lower rate.”
Background on Map Modernization, the National Flood Insurance Program and ‘grandfathering’ is available on the FEMA website, www.FEMA.gov and at the Gloucester County Open House.
FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.