New flood maps issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could change flood insurance rates for some properties when they take effect on March 7th.
The new maps replace the current maps which have been in effect since 1980. The maps identify flood hazard areas and assess potential risks for the purpose of guiding flood mitigation efforts. They are also used as the basis for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a voluntary program that provides reasonably-priced flood insurance to participating communities.
As a participant in the NFIP, the City of Puyallup must regulate development in designated flood hazard areas consistent with federal and state floodplain management requirements. The City must also adopt the new maps in order for our affected citizens to remain qualified for the National Flood Insurance Program.
Changes made since the maps were last updated in 1980 could change flood insurance needs for property owners. In particular, property owners in the Puyallup River valley or near the river’s tributary creeks should review the new map to determine whether and how their property may be affected.
Special flood hazard areas (specific places identified as high risk by FEMA) have been revised and might include properties not so designated on the current maps. On the 2017 FEMA flood map for the Puyallup area, special flood hazard areas include zones A, AO, AH, AE and VE. For properties in these areas that have federally-backed mortgages, insurance is required. Although not required by FEMA, flood insurance is recommended for all other properties in the mapped hazard areas, and may be required by a lender.
Those interested to learn more may want to read the FEMA publication "Top Ten Facts for Consumers." If you have questions about the new flood hazard maps, contact the regional FEMA office at 425-487-4684.