Public invited to appeal or comment on flood maps for Fort Bend, Wharton counties

New preliminary flood maps in Fort Bend and Wharton counties are now ready for residents and business owners to review.

The maps were produced by a team of local, state and FEMA floodplain officials. Residents and business owners are encouraged to view the maps to see if their property is at risk of flooding. This understanding will help residents and business owners make informed decisions about building plans. It will also help decide whether to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.

The public is invited to participate in appeal and comment periods about the maps. The deadline for submitting appeals or comments is Aug. 22.

Appeals and comments are important because:

Appeals are formal objections to proposed base flood elevations or flood depths. They can also be made to Special Flood Hazard Areas boundaries and zones, or floodways. Appeals must be based on technical data showing proposed maps to be scientifically incorrect. Anyone making an appeal must include the method, data and analysis used to support the claim.

Comments are objections to a base map feature change such as labels, incorrect roads or jurisdictional boundaries. The public can send comments and appeals to their local floodplain administrator. He or she then forwards them to FEMA, where they are resolved.

Those who have not had a chance to review the maps, they are available at the local floodplain administrator’s office. Other viewing options include:

• Viewing the Fort Bend County preliminary flood map at: http://maps.riskmap6.com/TX/FortBend/

• Or, the Wharton County preliminary flood map at: http://maps.riskmap6.com/TX/Wharton/

• Using a live chat service about flood maps at go.usa.gov/r6C, just click on the “Live Chat” icon;

• Contacting a FEMA Map Specialist at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) or FEMAMapSpecialist@riskmapcds.com.

The next step is the resolution of all the comments and appeals. When complete, FEMA notifies communities of the effective date of the final maps.

When flood risks are identified, the next step is to think about investing in a flood insurance policy. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program. Contacting a local insurance agent is the first step to learn about insurance options. Visit www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-888-379-9531 to locate an agent in the area.

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