LOCAL NEWS

FEMA draws new flood map, changes may impact insurance rates

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A newly-drawn map showing updated floodplain lines in Williamson and Travis counties may change insurance rates for some property owners and impact areas of development, and the deadline to appeal any changes is fast approaching.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a preliminary flood insurance rate map (FIRM) for Williamson and Travis counties in March that includes changes to properties within the cities of Austin, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Jonestown, Lago Vista, Lakeway, Leander, Round Rock, the village of Volente and unincorporated areas of both counties.

Residents and community officials have until May 14 to file appeals or comments opposing the FIRM. Once FEMA addresses each one, it will finalize the map reported changes, which is expected to be in spring 2019. Each community then has six months to either amend its floodplain management regulations or show their current plans are compliant with the newly finalized FIRM.

Williamson County Public Affairs Manager Connie Odom said it's important that all property owners check their address in the interactive FEMA map to confirm any changes.

"There were properties that came out of the floodplain and some that went in," Odom said. "There are changes both ways."

According to the preliminary map, the areas around Block House Creek, Brushy Creek, Buttercup Creek, Post Oak Creek and Benbrook neighborhood in Cedar Park and Leander have the most substantial changes.

Appeals require technical or scientific information to dispute FEMA’s map data and must be submitted through the county’s floodplain administrator. Incorrect information that doesn’t change the flood hazard information, including misspellings or boundary line inaccuracies, may submitted as comments.

The map was revised after FEMA, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and officials from local and state agencies completed a long-term flood study of the area. According to a FEMA press release, several of the areas affected by flooding since 2000, including the Memorial Day 2015 flood, have had changes.

“As we work together with our state and local partners to bring this critical information to these counties, we ask that everyone review the maps to understand what flood risks are involved,” said FEMA R6 Administrator Tony Robinson. “The role of the community as an active partner in the flood mapping process is very important.”

To find out if your property’s flood plain designation has changed, go to maps.riskmap6.com/TX/Williamson or maps.riskmap6.com/TX/Travis or maps.riskmap6.com/TX/Travis and then input your address into the interactive map. FEMA also has a live chat service at go.usa.gov.r6C or residents may contact a FEMA map specialist at 877-FEMA-MAP or FEMAMapSpecialist@riskmapcds.com.

The official Williamson County floodplain map is available for residents to review in person at 3151 S.E. Inner Loop, Suite B, in Georgetown. For more information, contact Williamson County floodplain administrator David Zwernemann at 512-943-3330.

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