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The Harris County Flood Control District’s New Flood Education Mapping Tool: What it can do for you

September 28, 2011
The Harris County Flood Control District recently launched a new tool to help Harris County residents gain knowledge about floodplains and their flooding risks – the Flood Education Mapping Tool at www.hcfcd.org. The mapping tool replaces the mapping tool formerly found on the Tropical Storm Allison Recovery Project (TSARP) website.

The Flood Education Mapping Tool builds on the interactive mapping tool created through TSARP, a multi-year, joint initiative spearheaded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Flood Control District in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. TSARP produced a new Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM or floodplain map) that was adopted by Harris County, the city of Houston and the county’s 33 municipalities in 2007.

New Mapping Tool Has User-friendly Features
Since TSARP, members of Harris County’s real estate, engineering and governmental communities as well as residential and business property owners have used the mapping tool on the TSARP website as an educational source to learn the location of structures relative to the mapped 1 percent (100-year), 0.2 percent (500-year) and coastal floodplains.

“Having recently marked the 10-year anniversary of Tropical Storm Allison, the Flood Control District is launching a mapping tool with an updated look and new features,” said Heather Saucier, Flood Control District spokeswoman. “Having served a valuable purpose for nearly a decade, the TSARP website has been retired with the launch of the Flood Education Mapping Tool.”

Some of the prominent new features of the Flood Education Mapping Tool include:
  • Regular updates to mapped floodplains in Harris County as they are revised by FEMA
  • An interactive legend with pop-up “tool tips” that help users get the most of out of each legend item
  • Easy map navigation
  • Known ponding areas where stormwater typically collects when rainfall exceeds the capacity of a street’s drainage system or the land’s ability to drain
The Flood Education Mapping Tool features a glossary and frequently-asked questions that address topics about flooding risks, floodplains and flood insurance. It also contains updated information about TSARP.

While the floodplains shown on the new mapping tool are the floodplains delineated on the FEMA effective FIRM for Harris County, the mapping tool is not the effective FIRM. Residents are urged to visit FEMA’s Map Service Center at www.msc.fema.gov to view the effective FIRM, and to contact an insurance agent or mortgage lender for an official floodplain determination.

Introducing the Floodplain Information Line
Complementary to this effort to provide the public with tools to better understand flooding risks, the Flood Control District also recently introduced the Floodplain Information Line at 713-684-4150.

The Floodplain Information Line provides answers in English and in Spanish to frequently asked questions about topics including:
  • General floodplain information
  • How to obtain an official FIRM
  • How to obtain an official floodplain determination from official sources, such as mortgage lenders and insurance agents (floodplain determinations are not made by FEMA, the Flood Control District or by local floodplain administrators)
  • Information on flood insurance and elevation certificates
About the Harris County Flood Control District
The mission of the Harris County Flood Control District is to provide flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values. The Flood Control District widens and deepens bayous and creeks, excavates large stormwater detention basins, implements voluntary home buyout programs and maintains more than 2,500 miles (about the distance from Los Angeles to New York City) of waterways.



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