Flood Hazard Mapping
A multi-year project to re-examine Allegany County Maryland flood risks and develop detailed digital flood hazard maps nears completion, the new mapping will become effective approximately June 2017. The flood risk update project is a joint effort of the County government, cities and towns within Allegany County, the Maryland Department of the Environment and FEMA.
- For information on the process, development and proposed schedule(s) of Flood Hazard Mapping (Flood Insurance Rate Maps) in Allegany County please visit: http://floods.allconet.org/
- There are several helpful websites to visit for information on properties located in or near flood hazard areas. Website addresses are as follows: (State of Maryland) http://mdfloodmaps.net, (Federal website) http://msc.fema.gov, or (County website) http://floods.allconet.org/.
- City of Cumberland residents may call 301-759-6604 for more information about the Flood Hazard Mapping Update process.
- For questions about current regulations for permits for development on or near the floodplain in the City of Cumberland call 301-759-6456.
Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) due to escalating costs to taxpayers for flood disaster relief. The NFIP is based on the agreement that if a community practices sound floodplain management, the Federal Government will make flood insurance available to residents in that community. FEMA maps include the Special Flood Hazard Area, which is the area that has a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year. Development may take place within the Special Flood Hazard Area provided that it complies with local floodplain ordinances that meet NFIP criteria.
When FEMA maps flood hazards in a community or county, two products are produced – a Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report and a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). An FIS is a narrative report of the community’s flood hazards that contains prior flooding information, descriptions of the flooding sources, information on flood protection measures, and a description of the hydrologic and hydraulic methods used in the study. A FIRM illustrates the extent of flood hazards in a community by depicting flood risk zones and the Special Flood Hazard Area, and is used with the FIS report to determine the floodplain development regulations that apply in each flood risk zone and who must buy flood insurance. FIRMs also depict other information including Base (1% annual chance) Flood Elevations (BFEs) or flood depths, floodways, and common physical features such as roads.
The most significant change is that the new FIRM maps will have an updated photographic base map that will improve the accuracy of floodplain determinations compared to the prior vector street map. With this update FEMA has produced a Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map that will be compatible with GIS (Geographic Information Systems). The improvements in spatial accuracy provided by the new base map, and the availability of electronic floodplain information should greatly enhance the ability to use the maps for planning, permitting, and insurance applications. The digital files will be available when these maps become effective.