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FIRM stands for Flood Insurance Rate Map. A FIRM shows areas of land that are prone to flooding.
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The city must regulate development in flood prone areas in order to be accepted in the National Flood Insurance Program. Acceptance in this program is necessary for property owners in the city to obtain flood insurance.
A floodplain is the area that may be covered with water during a significant rain event. The rain event used to define a floodplain is that which has a 1% chance of occurrence during any given year. This rain event is also called the "100 year storm".
A floodway is an area within the floodplain that must remain open for the flow of floodwaters. Construction in the floodway is generally prohibited.
A BFE is the elevation above sea level to which water will rise during a 100 year storm.
Generally yes. However, the finished floor must be elevated higher than the Base Flood Elevation and the structure must not be located in the floodway without special engineering analysis that has been reviewed and approved by the city.
You may review the FIRM panels in the Public Works office at City Hall, 555 Walnut Street, Abilene Texas, 2nd floor, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. You may also view Floodplain Maps Online or call 325-676-6313 for further assistance.
The maps are developed using statistical rainfall data for the Abilene area along with detailed ground surface information to calculate the rise and spread of floodwaters through the city's creek system. The maps have been reviewed by city staff and generally reflect what has been observed during actual flood events. However, it is possible that certain properties are shown to be in a mapped floodplain, but may not be at risk due to their actual location or elevation.
Questions may be answered by Public Works staff at city hall, or through emails to Larry Wright submitted.
The appeals and protest period for the preliminary maps ended November 11, 2009. After that date, no further appeals and protests will be accepted by FEMA related to the preliminary maps. Changes to the maps after that date must be by a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), submitted in accordance with FEMA regulations.
The map has been prepared by FEMA.
The map was prepared using detailed ground surface elevation and topographic data collected in 2005. The spread and height of floodwater in the city's creeks were determined using hydraulic engineering methods.
The purpose of the revised map is to improve the accuracy of information related to floodwater elevation and limits.
The city provided funding for the surveying and modeling and provided input regarding actual experience with flood events in Abilene.
Most mortgage companies require flood insurance for houses that are in the floodplain. The City of Abilene does not require flood insurance.
If your house is in the floodplain according to the FEMA maps, you may be required by your lender to purchase flood insurance. If your house is in the floodplain but you do not have a mortgage, then it is your personal decision whether or not to buy flood insurance. There may be some advantage to purchasing flood insurance before the new maps become effective. Certain properties where the floodplain status has changed may be "grandfathered" and reduced rates may apply for insurance purchased before the new maps become effective.
Contact your insurance agent for more information.