Bladen County Receives New Flood Insurance Rate Maps

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Preliminary copies of updated Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) panels and the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) Report (both dated February 13, 2003) have been issued to Bladen County and affected municipalities within the county. The FIRM panels and FIS Report include the portion of the county located in the Lumber River basin. A Preliminary Meeting for county and municipal officials and staff, and congressional and legislative members will take place on February 20, 2003, at the Bladen County Library in Elizabethtown, NC.

During the meeting, staff of the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program will provide an overview of the map production process, the map changes, the values and benefits of the new maps, and the ways in which the new maps should be used by the communities to reduce future losses due to flooding.

The new maps were produced by the State of North Carolina under a unique partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This partnership, signed September 2000, designates North Carolina as a Cooperating Technical State and delegates the primary responsibility for the creation and maintenance of all FIRMs to the State of North Carolina. The remapping of all floodplains for Bladen County is the result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Floyd, which flooded thousands of square miles of eastern North Carolina and left thousands of people homeless. This disaster highlighted North Carolina's vulnerability to natural disasters and the need for accurate, up-to-date floodplain maps.

During the meeting on February 20, 2003, attendees will receive an overview of the process used to create the maps, an explanation of the values and benefits of the new maps, and a demonstration of the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Information System that will allow local officials and the general public to access the new maps on-line via a website maintained by the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program. Also included will be descriptions of new map features, a detailed summary of map changes, a short "how-to" session on using the new maps, and information on flood insurance implications, the map adoption process, and recommendations for safer floodplain development standards. The residents of Bladen County will have an opportunity to see the results of the advanced digital floodplain mapping technology used to create the new maps at a public meeting to be held later the same day.

The Appeal Period open for commenting on the preliminary FIRM panels and FIS Report will last from February 28, 2003 through May 29, 2003 for Bladen County and Incorporated Communities.