Floodplains and FIRMs raise more questions
To the Editor:
Floodplains and FIRMs — Status?
FEMA hosted a Technical Session on the afternoon of June 5. A personal interpretation of what was said follows. My attendance was as County Planning Commission’s Education Committee Chair a) Status of the FIRMs (Flood Insurance Rate Maps). Preliminary maps (already issued) with revised floodplain delineation, subject to some amendments, will be included with RISK maps to be issued supposedly in a few months. One day after the FIRMs (now embedded in the RISK maps) are issued, properties with LOMAs (Letter of Map Amendments) would receive an automatic re-certification or required to resubmit for a LOMA or otherwise obtain flood insurance. Properties without a LOMA, but supposedly in the floodplain, might find it necessary to provide much more data — or compelled to get flood insurance. b) Great Lakes Coastal Study. This study, conducted by the USACE/FEMA will affect the location of the floodplains, but most likely not until 2014. It could lead to a new set of FIRMs. The study has two major aspects: modeling of changes in elevation due to storm surges and waves, and secondly modeling the overland wave actions (erosion, run-up, propagation) and their potential for flooding. Riparian property owners could be affected by the outcome of this study. Those interested in more details, check www.leelanau.cc/fema.asp
On a personal note I have sufficient understanding of computer modeling and some of the governing equations to say that based on what was presented at the technical session (albeit in the form of a progress report), I have significant questions on the assumptions inherent in the models, the uncertainty in their predictions, and the lack of convincing validations.
N. Cathead Bay Dr., Northport