A new study by the Federal Emergency Management Agency shows the potential for flooding from downtown Redwood City to the Bay that could require property owners to secure flood insurance.
FEMA issued new preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Redwood City last summer and will conduct an open house with city officials later this month to discuss the potential changes “in the associated flood hazard zone” on FEMA maps.
The new map for the city impacts about 1,100 parcels and about 900 property owners, city spokeswoman Meghan Horrigan said.
At the open house, FEMA will have insurance experts on hand to discuss the impacts of the new map to property owners, she said.
The map is preliminary, however, and is not expected to be finalized until 2017, meaning property owners will not have to purchase flood insurance, if required, until then, said FEMA spokeswoman Mary Sims.
The new map is part of the San Francisco Bay Area Coastal Study, a federal requirement to map flood risk zones, said FEMA’s Shilp Mulik, who prepared the maps for Redwood City.
The maps will also help city officials to decide where best to build in the future along the Bay.
With El Niño weather hitting the region this winter, the maps show which properties are most at risk of flooding.
Even those who are not required to purchase flood insurance may want to consider it, Sims said.
“Even a few inches of flooding can lead to significant damage,” she said, adding it takes 30 days for flood insurance to go into effect.
The Redwood City maps are part of a broader effort to map the entire Bay, Mulik said.
It has been 20 years since the coastal study has been updated, she said.
It’s an effort to define what areas are vulnerable to flooding.
All of the affected property owners have been notified about the new maps and are encouraged to come to the open house.
The public can also weigh in on the new maps until they are finalized in 2017.
The maps are used to manage floodplains and to help cities develop sound building ordinances. Mortgage lenders use the maps to help determine a property’s flood risk and decide whether flood insurance will be required as a condition for a loan. The insurance industry uses them to determine premiums.
Those properties considered to be in a high-risk area, called a Special Flood Hazard Area, will likely be subject to higher insurance rates, according to FEMA.
The open house is 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 23, City Hall, 1017 Middlefield Road. Go to floodsmart.gov/floodsmart to learn more or call (650) 780-7380.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102