First Set of New Flood Insurance Rate Maps Delivered
(Onslow County: White Oak River Basin portion)

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On January 15th, Onslow County and the municipalities within the county received preliminary copies of updated Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) panels for the portion of the county located in the White Oak River basin. The delivery and presentation of the new maps took place at the Onslow County Emergency Operations Center in Jacksonville. During the presentation, staff of the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program provided 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 presentation of the new maps was provided to county and municipal officials and staff, congressional and legislative members, and representatives from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

The new maps are the first of many to be 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 Onslow 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 morning session of the January 15th meeting, attendees received 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. Highlights of the afternoon session include 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 Onslow 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 scheduled for February 7th.