County officials invite residents of the county to discuss a new federal study of flooding along the Chehalis River watershed.
Ted Perkins, a Federal Emergency Management Agency regional engineer, said 194 structures were added to the floodplain while 87 structures were removed in Grays Harbor County.
FEMA studied the Black, Chehalis and Satsop rivers. The agency is developing maps to identify areas that have a 1 percent chance of flooding in any year, a release from the county states.
“Our (geographic information) department worked with FEMA to try and pinpoint the number of properties with structures on them to determine how many new properties would be included,” Grays Harbor County Principal Planner Jane Hewitt said. “We are reaching out directly to the folks that our work suggests are at the intersection, the few people who were required to have flood insurance and are no longer on the list to a longer list of those who weren’t but are now in a flood zone.”
Because 194 structures are proposed to be added to the floodplain, mortgage companies can require borrowers to carry flood insurance on those structures, as well as for the purchase or construction of buildings in high-risk flood areas.
When adopted, the maps will “dictate flood insurance prices for federally-backed mortgages,” the release states. Land use and land development decisions also will be influenced by the maps.
At the open house, national and regional FEMA representatives as well as officials from the state Department of Ecology will be on hand to discuss the study and mapping process. The meeting is 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, at Grays Harbor County Administration Building, 100 W. Broadway in Montesano.
“Property owners and community residents will have the opportunity to learn about the flood mapping process and what the changes mean for them,” the release states. Residents can ask questions of county officials at the open house about how their homes will be effected.
The maps can be reviewed online at tinyurl.com/GHC-FEMA-flooding. A custom flood map is available from the county’s Planning Division by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 360-249-4222 and asking for a planner.
If you can’t attend the open house, you can send questions to the Grays Harbor Planning Division at 100 W. Broadway, Montesano, WA 98563 or email them to email@example.com. Be sure to include your name, address, parcel number if available, mailing address (if it is different from your home address), email address and phone number.
“Flooding is the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the United States. Statistics show that the high-risk areas on flood maps have a 26-percent chance of being flooded at some point during a 30-year mortgage. In comparison, most homes have only a 9-percent chance of being damaged by fire,” the release states.
Find more information on flooding and flood safety at www.floodsmart.gov.
Dan Hammock of Grays Harbor News Group contributed to this report. His email is dhammock@sound