Flood Map Update Could Cause Insurance Rate Surge

SNOW HILL — An updating of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) may cause some dissatisfaction amongst Worcester County residents in the near future.

Ed Tudor, director of Development Review and Permits, informed the Worcester County Commissioners Tuesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be reevaluating the current maps over the next two to three years.

“There will be some people who won’t be happy, and some people that will be happy,” Tudor said.

According to a memorandum Tudor issued to the commissioners, he “firmly suspect[s] that there will be definitive changes to our Floodplain Maps.”

Many of the current FIRMs in place are decades old. With the advance in mapping technology since most FIRMs were designated, Tudor asserted that the update was “certainly warranted.”

“A lot of the maps right now are very old,” he said. “Some go back to 1983.”

Tudor also cited several other areas which are going through a similar procedure, including Somerset County and Sussex County, Del.

“It’s a several year process,” Tudor added.

Tudor went on to say that the new preliminary map would not even be available until approximately April 2013 and the final map not until June, if estimates were correct.

Even after that, there will be the chance for public input, appeals and updates to the county’s Floodplain Management Ordinance. The entire process will likely last until around July of 2014.

Changes to floodplain maps will almost definitely mean changes to area flood insurance rates, a prospect which was the main backing for Tudor’s assertion that some residents would like the update, while others may not.

At this point, Tudor said that the county did not need to take any action in regards to the mapping, as the long process was only just beginning. He remarked that he was only trying to keep the commissioners informed.

“Is this considered a warning?” joked Commission President Bud Church.

Tudor admitted that the commission could view it as such.

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