Monday, December 9, 2013

Federal Flood Maps Left New York Unprepared For Sandy -- And FEMA Knew It

This doesn't say a lot for the effectiveness and efficiency of the federal government, as if we needed any reminders. Revisions to flood maps can have major implications and we are finding that out in Florida as well. Click title for link to article. Here is an example of the extent of distortion between reality and what the "old" maps showed.
When FEMA finally released a preliminary version of those maps this January they showed that the number of city structures considered at high risk of flooding had doubled. More than 35,000 additional homes and businesses were added to the map’s riskiest zones, according to a study by New York City’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. Some 9,503 of those buildings suffered damaged during Sandy, a ProPublica analysis of flood maps shows.
FEMA did not respond to specific questions about the adequacy of its flood maps or glitches in the modernization process. Bill McDonnell, the deputy director for mitigation for FEMA’s Region II, acknowledged that no new data had been collected to update maps for New York or New Jersey in the mid-2000s. In a statement, the agency said it began giving priority to map updates for “high-risk, coastal areas” in 2009. These included 14 counties in New Jersey and New York City. The agency said it continues to work with state and local officials to “incorporate the best available data into maps.’’