A new flood risk map from FEMA means changes are coming for people living near the Mouse River in Minot. FEMA’s current flood risk map is 20 years old, but a lot has changed over the years.
The new one, which is expected to go into effect next February, has some significant changes. Most notably, the number of homes that are in the new flood zone. An estimated 3,200 properties will be considered high-risk, many of which weren’t considered at-risk before.
“Help people understand what their ‘true’ risk is,” said Miranda Schuler, insurance agent. “Obviously, in 2011, we had a pretty substantial event here and we’re currently in a low-moderate risk zone and that probably wasn’t correct.”
The old map shows homes in a dark blue color, that has a low risk of flooding. The orange color shows homes that are high risk.
The proposed map changes significantly.
More homes are in the turquoise color which is a high-risk or ‘AE’ zone. The orange color includes homes that are at low-risk of flooding called the ‘X’ zone. The red hashed area is new, and is called the ‘floodway.’
“That’s the area that has the highest flow, highest velocity and carries the most damage,” said Lance Meyer, Minot city engineer. “So the restrictions of what you can and can’t do in the floodway are much more than what they are just in the 100-year floodplain.”
Once the new map goes into effect, all homeowners in the turquoise high-risk zone will be required to have flood insurance, if they have a federally-backed mortgage. City leaders said getting that insurance before 2021 could save you big money.
“Get a flood insurance policy,” Meyer said. “Just because the maps aren’t in effect, that doesn’t mean the risk isn’t there. It just means the maps aren’t adopted.”
“There’s a big cost advantage to buying it now, keeping it enforced and grandfathering in that ‘x’ zone,” said Schuler.
And ‘grandfathering in’ your rate, as Schuler said, means you’d be protected from significant price hikes.
Flood insurance can not be paid over a year – -it has to be paid in full before the policy goes into effect.
And until the city’s massive flood protection project is complete, those homeowners will be required to have flood insurance.
“Which is why the flood protection project is so important because we’re kind of racing against that clock, right? To make sure that we get the community protected and to remove parts of the community from the 100-year floodplain,” Meyer said.