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South Mississippi Living 4/07

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Flood zone expands under FEMA maps

By MARY PEREZ
December 5, 2007


TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD
Proposed FEMA maps sit in front of Biloxi Mayor A. J. Holloway Tuesday at Biloxi City Hall. Council members didn't look at the maps since they felt there had not been good communication to explain what FEMA was proposing.


BILOXI -- Flood insurance rates on homes damaged more than 50 percent during Hurricane Katrina could skyrocket, or the homes will have to be elevated, once the new flood elevations are adopted by the Biloxi City Council.

Biloxi Community Development Director Jerry Creel said the flood zone has expanded considerably under the new FEMA maps and some areas that were outside the flood zone before Katrina now may be included, especially along Biloxi waterways. Homes that didn't meet the 1984 flood map elevations before the storm lost their grandfather status when they were damaged more than 50 percent by Katrina. The homes repaired without being elevated to the 1984 standards will now have to be raised.

Creel said he doesn't know how many homes that might be. Homes damaged less than 50 percent don't have to be elevated. Those whose homes in the flood zone were damaged more than 50 percent will need to elevate their house, or, Creel said, "When they go to apply for flood insurance they're going to be surprised." They could face flood insurance premiums of more than $6,000 a year.


Already one man came into his office with problems due to the new flood elevations. His home was repaired without a permit by volunteers while he waited to be approved for an MDA grant. The man was notified that he was eligible for a grant, but Creel said because his home wasn't raised to the Advisory Base Flood Elevations as required by the Mississippi Development Authority, his grant may have to be modified to include elevation funding "even though it's already been completely repaired." Grants of up to $30,000, which FEMA estimates it would cost to raise a home, won't be available until the city adopts the new flood elevations within the next year.

The council met Tuesday with representatives of FEMA but Councilman Bill Stallworth later said, "We learned absolutely nothing from that meeting we had today." Several councilmen asked for individual copies of the new flood elevation maps, which would cost the city $5,000 to print. Links to the maps are on the city Web site, although the files are very large and take several minutes to download.

FEMA Acting National Flood Insurance Program Supervisor Timothy Russo said the new flood elevations are generally 2 to 4 feet lower than the FEMA Advisory Base Flood Elevations created after Katrina. He thought the new elevations could be used immediately, but City Attorney Michael Collins asked him to provide the city with a specific legal opinion.

Creel said it's very important to know what elevations can be used because "every foot you go higher adds significantly to your construction cost." He suggested those building or remodeling a home check with Community Development first for exact regulations to save money.

Stallworth, who coordinates the volunteer efforts at the East Biloxi Coordination Center, knew some homes might later have to be elevated, but said they were concerned with getting people back in their homes quickly. He believes only a few of the more than 600 houses that were repaired will need to be raised.

The council asked Russo if the Dec. 12 public meeting for Harrison County can be postponed to give them time to study the maps or if additional meetings can be scheduled in East Biloxi, where most of the damage occurred, and in Woolmarket. Russo said all officials in Harrison County can meet with first federal and state officials Dec. 12 from 9 a.m. until the public open house begins at noon.

If you go

Coast residents can see the new preliminary flood maps and speak to officials at open house meetings from noon to 8 p.m.:

Dec. 11: Hancock County, Our Lady of the Gulf Parish Community Center, 228 S. Beach Blvd., Bay St. Louis.

Dec. 12: Harrison County, Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum, 2350 Beach Blvd., Biloxi.

Dec. 13: Jackson County, Jackson County Civic Center, 2902 Shortcut Road, Pascagoula.

Maps are available online at geology.deq.ms.gov/floodmaps. For information, call 866-816-2804 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

- MEMA



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4 comments:

Tadpushy said...

I bet that instead of either raising your home or facing $6000.00 flood insurance, you'll find that people are going to have to raise their home and will still end up paying $6000.00 for flood insurance and it won't just be homes that suffered more than 50 percent damage, it will be all of the homes!
We live about 20 miles east of the Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant in Florida. Just recently we had to change insurance companies because our roof wouldn't handle a 200mph wind, it honestly would surprise me if they told us we had to build a "fallout shelter" in case of a meltdown at Crystal River or be canceled.
Just about every quarter when the oil companies announce their profits you hear congress talk about a "windfall profits tax" bill on them, maybe they should think about including the insurance companies in that bill. The money from the tax could be either used for low interest loans or grants so people could make the improvements the insurance companies are requiring.
My worst nightmare is a major hurricane and a meltdown at the same time, but if that happened they'd probably cancel my stress insurance.

CresceNet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CoachingByPeter said...

It is also important to know information about your location's flood risk to have an idea on how much water might get into your place. Info can be avail in floodplain management office or building department. Anyone can be a victim of financial difficulties because of the damages that brought about by flooding.

Ana Maria said...

You are an idiot. You come on a blog that has been dormant for a long time and post a comment with the obvious intention of getting business for your so-called coaching program.

You obviously didn't read anything I had written on this wonderful blog about REAL life here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Did you know that before Katrina, 90% of all real estate transactions went through at closing. AFTER Katrina, that rate dropped to 66% . . . because once the astronomical cost of homeowners insurance was factored in, the potential buyers are no longer eligible for the loan. (See Congressman Gene Taylor's Editorials at his website taylor.house.gov/insurance reform. Read the one titled "South Mississippi business owners need multiple peril insurance".

You are a chump pushing your damned business on a blog that is intended to enlighten and inform the world of hard reality on the insurance industry--an industry that fails to come under our nation's anti-trust laws. What that means is that it can collude, price gouge, etc., with immunity.

However, Peter, you yourself cannot do it because you are, thankfully, prohibited by LAW from doing so. To make this a level playing field in the world of free markets, the insurance industry must be placed under the same federal laws as other financial sectors such as banks, stocks, and the like.

Moreover, the whole mess of what went wrong for business and homeowners here throughout Hurricane Katrina Land is that the insurance companies REFUSED to pay on the WIND damage claims legally and rightfully filed with HOMEOWNER INSURERS such as Snake Farm, All Snakes, Nationhide, and the like.

In fact, this past June, Nationhide's insurance attorney told the Mississippi Supreme Court that even if wind destroyed 95% of a home and flood came HOURS later and destroyed the remaining 5%, Nationhide "Wouldn't Pay A DIME". Get it?

Watch this exchange on video. Rep. Taylor has it in two videos on his YouTube account.

Nationwide Won't Pay a Dime if Wind Destroys 95% of Home and Insurance Companies Confess in Court: "We Wouldn't Pay a Dime" . . . unless sued!.

Then come back and write something intelligent for me to read. Otherwise, get lost.