How to Determine If a Property Falls in FEMA Zone or Not?

| April 26, 2013
Property Falls

Property Falls

There are designated flood zones for every single plot or section of a land irrespective of whether it falls under ant hazardous flood areas or not. FEMA or Federal Emergency Management Agency defines flood zones that are geographical areas defined as per different risk level of flood. Every zone signifies the type and severity of flooding in the particular area.

Problems with Floodplains

Floodplains, on the other hand, are areas that repeatedly witnesses periodic flooding. They are delineated mostly by the expected flooding frequency. For instance, a plain that is tagged as annual floodplain will most probably see flood at least once a year. Even those arid deserts in southwest see flooding problems. One of the flood related offices in Arizona recently mentioned that one of the biggest issues they face is convincing the residents of new county about the problems of flooding.

Top Contributing Factors of Flooding Problems in Deserts

The District claims that these floods that cause a lot of carnage in desert regions happen due to four main reasons. The biggest region is the huge density of population in the region. Then, its location in the big drainage basin also acts a contributing factor. Thirdly, there always are chances of big storms that come with abnormally high precipitation. Last but not the least, insufficient drainage conveyance also adds towards the flooding problems. In rural regions, subdivision layouts and dirt roads were mostly made without considering the factor of natural drainage of lands and washes. In big cities, parking lots, asphalt road and structures don’t absorb water as it used to be earlier by the land; this in turn raises flooding issues.

Flash Floods

In southwest desert regions, it is heavy rain that is behind most of the frequent floods. Heavy rainfall and intense thunderstorms often give birth to flash floods that are very common in deserts, especially in the months of July and September. The insufficient drainage and flash floods together create havoc as there is literally no place for the water to flow off. This is the reason why insufficient drainage must be attended to, when preliminary plans are submitted for further approval. FEMA makes a record of delineations in the flood plains on maps that are called as FIRM or Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

Checking if a Property is Included in 100 Year Floodplain

Mortgage firms are needed to find out if the properties they are putting their money in are, included in the 100 year floodplain or not. If that is the case, then the mortgage firms often ask the buyers to get flood insurance. This particular information must get into any hazard disclosure report by State Subdivisions.

Let us now see what exactly a 100 year event or flood is. It definitely is not what it sounds, meaning it is not any event that occurs once every 100 years. It is actually a flood that has a probability of occurring 1 in 100 tomes in any year. In other words, it is one percent chance of occurring every year,

Similarly a five year event has twenty percent odds, a ten year event has ten percent odds, a fifty year event has two percent odds and a five hundred year event has 0.2 percent odds. The figures here show the depth and force of water flows in the regions. Frequent floods follow less forceful and shallow floods that can still cause damage. The general thumb rule is that with increase of water volume the probability goes down.

So, you must always look into the hazard disclosure report to determine if a property falls into FEMA Zone, and whether it’s a good idea to put your money on it or not.

Author Bio

Steve Nulhakiem is a real estate agent working for a real estate firm in Los Angeles. He enjoys traveling, reading novels, adventure sports, watching movies, and travelling overseas to explore investment opportunities.

How to Determine If a Property Falls in FEMA Zone or Not?


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