Monday, December 18, 2006

Are You Now in a Flood Plain?

After Tropical Storm Allison the Harris County Flood Control District and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created a joint study project (The Tropical Storm Allison Recovery Project or TSARP) to help the public understand flood risks. TSARP has just released new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Check the maps or call the Harris County Flood Control District at 713-722-7227 to see if your property is included in the approximately 10,000 commercial and residential properties newly added to the flood plain, or if you are one of the lucky ones whose property has now been removed. Read TSARP's Quick Reference Sheets and a letter from Mike Talblott, Director of the Harris County Flood Control District, to gain a better understanding of flood insurance as well as how these new maps might affect you. Flood insurance rates will rise dramatically on June 18, 2007 for those living in identified flood-prone areas, but you have six months to lock in cheaper grandfathered rates. Even if your residence or business is outside the official flood plain, though, FEMA advises you to purchase flood insurance since almost two-thirds of the flooding during Allison occured outside the 100 year floodplain. For more information about how to purchase flood insurance, access the National Flood Insurance Web site or call 1-888-379-9531.