Revised Flood Hazard Maps
Important changes are occurring in Lee County. A multi-year project to re-examine flood zones and develop detailed digital flood hazard maps is nearing completion. Water flow and drainage patterns have changed significantly in the 23 years since the first Flood Hazard Maps were produced for Lee County. However, the county’s existing flood hazard maps have not kept up with these changes and therefore don’t reflect the county’s current flood risks.
In response to this need, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has revised the Flood Hazard Maps (also known as Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps). Lee County’s map modernization project was a joint effort with FEMA in cooperation with local municipalities, local associations, and private sector partners. The new maps took affect August 2008. Although some properties were not affected by the new maps, others were mapped into a higher or lower risk zone.
Also, new Base Flood Elevation (BFE) requirements may affect future construction and the cost of flood insurance. The city will not send each property a notification letter. You will need to review the maps to see if they affect your property. Current Flood Hazard Maps have a total of 3,727 parcels in the special flood hazard zone. The new maps will add another 8,461 new parcels to the high risk flood zones, with a grand total of 12,188 parcels.
Updated Map Benefits
The updated digital flood maps will allow you to make better financial decisions about protecting yourselves and your property. The maps also will help community officials, engineers, builders and others to make important determinations about where and how new structures and developments should be built. If you would like more information, please call our floodplain coordinator at (239) 321-7931.
Long-Term Impact of Updates
As part of its nationwide updating of flood maps, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has completed the first comprehensive review of flood zones throughout Lee County in 23 years. These zones determine flood insurance rates and base flood elevations for construction. By adopting these new maps, the City of Fort Myers assures that FEMA will help us in emergencies and provide flood insurance coverage for city residents. As a result of the revised flood zones, the City of Fort Myers property owners may experience these changes:
- Flood insurance might be required and insurance rates might change. Property in the special flood hazard zone areas has a 1% annual chance of being flooded, according to FEMA’s flood models.
- Within the hazard area, any property with a federally-backed mortgage must be protected with a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- Private mortgage companies might also require flood insurance for properties in the hazard area.
- Insurance rates vary according to zones within the Special Flood Hazard Area and the elevation and value of property.
- In addition, some areas of the city are no longer in the Special Flood Hazard Area, and property owners in those areas might choose to drop or reduce their flood insurance. Property owners are urged to check their status under the new maps.