flooding

A mail truck and an SUV pass each other through flooding near the intersection of Northern Cross Road and Rio de Janeiro Avenue, in the Deep Creek area of Punta Gorda Aug. 13.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps for residents and property owners in coastal Charlotte County will be available for viewing at three upcoming public open houses from Dec. 11 to Dec. 12.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced the open houses Tuesday, which will provide residents and property owners with the opportunity to learn about their risk of flooding and ask questions about what the new maps mean for their property.

The Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) show the potential extent and risks of flooding and are used to determine flood insurance premiums and building requirements. Over time, risks change due to construction and development, environmental changes, watershed conditions and other factors. Flood maps are updated periodically to reflect these changes.

The new preliminary FIRMs were developed through a partnership between the communities and FEMA, based on updated modeling data, and show coastal flood hazards more accurately than previous maps.

Specialists and subject matter experts will be on hand to meet one-on-one and discuss flood risk, flood insurance, appeals, mitigation options, as well as the engineering behind the flood insurance study. Home and business owners, renters, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, surveyors and insurance agents are encouraged to attend.

By law, federally regulated or insured mortgage lenders require flood insurance on buildings that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. Standard homeowners, business owners, and renters’ insurance policies typically don’t cover flood damage; consequently, flood insurance is an important consideration for everyone with coastal property. Flood insurance policies can be purchased from any state-licensed property and casualty insurance agent.

For more information, call the National Flood Insurance Program Help Center at 800-427-4661 or visit www.floodsmart.gov.

Anyone requiring reasonable accommodations at the open house, such as a sign language interpreter, can contact FEMA’s Office of Equal Rights at fema-reasonable-accommodations@fema.dhs.gov to make arrangements no later than three days prior to the open house.

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