PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

September 14, 2012

Flood zone maps show change

— Mid County residents may want to check out the recently released preliminary Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps to see if their homes are at an increased risk of flooding.

The maps are still in the preliminary stages and may undergo changes in the future, but residents have the opportunity to view the maps at their local city halls and leave comments, concerns or considerations for FEMA to review. The Port Arthur Public Library has a copy of the maps on display, and the maps can also be accessed online at http://maps.riskmap6.com/TX/Jefferson/.

These maps determine flood hazard areas, which directly affect flood insurance rates. But the flood maps for Jefferson County have not been revised since 1984. An area of that has changed significantly since the previous version of the flood maps were released is between 10th Avenue and Rio Grande Avenue in Port Arthur, which is now a part of the flood hazard area.

“Not a week goes by that we do not have phone calls from people wanting to know why their flood premiums have skyrocketed,” said Paul Brown, senior planner for the City of Port Arthur.

To be a part of the flood hazard area, FEMA says there is a 1 percent chance of a significant flooding event for every rain event that occurs. These are called “100-year events,” and they reside in the A zones, whose property owners are required to purchase flood insurance.

Areas that have been selected as B zones are shielded by a flood protection device, like a levee, or are outside the 100-year flood plains, according to the FEMA flood map guide.

Most of Port Arthur resides in a B zone, said Stuart Salter, owner of the Julian Salter Company, because much of the area is protected by the levee system. He said Bridge City and Sabine Pass would be the areas that would see flood insurance rate increases should the new maps be adopted as they are.

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