FEMA Flood Maps

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FEMA Flood Zones for downtown Houston.

In the aftermath of Harvey, a great deal of attention is being paid to flood-prone areas of the country – specifically, the FEMA maps that show a location’s annual flood risk. These maps are important – beyond showing flooding risk, they determine whether federally-funded mortgages will require flood insurance or not.

It’s also useful to know if you’re building a chemical plant that might explode if it gets flooded.

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FEMA map showing the Arkema Chemical Plant which exploded. It’s located squarely within the flood zone.

(Spoiler alert: pretty much anywhere near a river or the coast is at significant risk of flooding.)

If you’re interested in knowing whether your house is in a flood zone (and you should be), FEMA has an online tool for viewing the flood map of an address here. You can also download a layer for viewing on google earth here.

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