The Federal Emergency Management Agency just released a map of estimated flood zones in the United States for the year 2100—and it doesn’t look good. The influx of water across the country is largely attributed to climate change, with FEMA placing 70% of the blame on climate change and global warming issues.
The pink and red map that FEMA has released shows only a small snippet near Montana and Wyoming that seem to go unharmed, with even small chances of flooding in interior states with higher elevations. Aside from the total catastrophe of flooding and flood damage, the FEMA report also looks into just who will pay for future damage caused by impending storms. Category 5 MOM (Maximum of Maximum) for Pinellas County Florida (elevation in feet above land). FEMA has published almost 100,000 individual FIRMs to enable individuals to make informed decisions about protecting property, both financially and structurally.
The Standard DFIRM Database is designed to provide the user with the ability to determine the flood zone, BFE, and the floodway status for a particular location.
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for the city of Dunedin and surrounding areas of Pinellas county FL (Panel 67).
While both MOM and FIRM maps provide a good baseline for relaying the coastal flooding threat, both products can be improved.


Although there are a number of products available to relay the threat of coastal flooding from hurricanes, all are based on current (and past) climate and sea level conditions. As part of the examination of post- Hurricane Katrina hazards, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently published maps showing the depth of inundation for different flood scenarios in the New Orleans, LA, area. Flood insurance rate zones (A- and V-zones) are a primary way to communicate flood hazard because areas known or suspected to be subject to flood damage have higher insurance premiums.
In 2007, European nations agreed to adopt a risk based approach in flood management, with an aim to reduce the overall flood risk, which is defined as the probability of an event multiplied by its consequences. The projected maps highlight the Great Lakes region to be the hardest hit area for river-related flooding, while the Northwest, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coasts are the more obvious, large body-related affected zones.
FEMA is also working on a regular basis to update flood maps to provide homeowners with the most reliable information available about flood risk. It also has National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) community information, map panel information, cross section and hydraulic structure information, Coastal Barrier Resource System information (CBRS, if applicable), and base map information like road, stream, and public land survey data. Because these maps were developed incorporating the probability of a flood event, the probability that the flood protection system will perform as designed, the probabilities of overtopping or failure of the structures, and the consequence of the flood event (inundation), these products are true risk maps rather than hazard maps.
Pre-Katrina levees and flooding impacts are shown in (a) New levees for 100-year flood protection and associated flooding are shown in (b).


Where this money will come from remains to be seen, but FEMA’s report shows that the government is considering the long term outcomes of climate change.
FEMA uses this data to create Flood Insurance Maps (FIRMs), which show floodplain boundaries that indicate different flooding probabilities. X-500 zones (bright pink colors) indicate the areas between the limits of the base flood and the 0.2% annual chance flood. An example of a Category-5 MOM, which shows the Maximum of Maximum inundation caused by Category-5 hurricanes for Pinellas County, the largest and richest coastal county in Florida, is shown to the left.
Committee members included academics and practitioners who collectively possessed expertise covering inland and coastal flood modeling and mapping, geospatial data management, flood hazard assessment, and economic and policy implications of flood map accuracy. In addition to these traditional means of gathering information, the committee conducted original analyses of variables that influence flood map accuracy, such as elevation and flood flow. The Committee also recommended method to reduce the uncertainty associated with coastal flood maps.



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