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By Dave Rogers
For the Record 

FEMA finalizing new floodplain map


Last updated 6/22/2021 at 10:48pm

A panel of the new Orange County floodplain map shows the area of Pinehurst and West Orange. (Courtesy FEMA)

Cutline: A panel of the new Orange County floodplain map shows the area of Pinehurst and West Orange.

(Courtesy FEMA)


FEMA finalizing new floodplain map


Dave Rogers

For The Record


The Federal Emergency Management Agency is encouraging Orange County residents to examine new flood maps that become effective Dec. 16, 2021.

To access the Orange County preliminary maps, go to this web address: and at the bottom of the page, select Texas, then Orange, then click "Get Preliminary FEMA Map Products."

That will reveal a list of 19 map panels for Orange County and an index. Download the index first and open it to determine which panel file you need for your location.

Each of the panels includes lengthy map legends at the bottom, which should answering at least some questions.

FEMA's news release, issued Monday, advises residents to determine from the map if they live in a low-to-moderate- or high-risk flood zone. It informs them that a FEMA compliance specialist will be working with each community to fine-tune the maps and gain their adoption.

It reminds those without flood insurance risk uninsured losses to their home, property or business and adds flood insurance is available through private insurers or National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

"These flood maps are going to be forced onto the county, even if the county doesn't approve," said Melinda Smith of Traylor and Associates, who is working with governments and area residents on elevation and buyout/acquisition programs through FEMA and the Texas General Land Office.

"It boils down to a lot of people will see increases in their flood insurance rates. But if governments reject the maps, nobody will have flood insurance available to them."

New floodplain maps are necessary, Smith explained, because of the historical storms that have hit Southeast Texas over the past couple of decades.

"Look at the areas that weren't labeled 'in the floodplain' but flooded," she said. "Basically the maps were updated using more recent flood data."

The FEMA release does include a silver lining, or a short-term saving. "Purchasing a flood insurance policy now, before the map effective date, may save you money," it said.

It directs residents to to learn more.


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