September 25, 2020 | By: Samara Ebinger, NH Office of Strategic Initiatives

On July 29, 2020, FEMA issued the Letter of Final Determination (LFD) to finalize preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for coastal communities in Rockingham County. FEMA originally issued the preliminary maps, which reflect an updated coastal flood hazard study, in 2014 followed by revised preliminary map panels for several communities in 2016. The LFD establishes the effective date of the new FIRMs and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report and provides communities six months to adopt the new FIRMs and FIS prior to the January 29, 2021 effective date.

FIRMs are produced for communities that participate in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). They are used by:

  • community officials to determine where and how their community floodplain ordinance applies for development;
  • lenders to determine if a building must have a flood insurance policy as a condition of a loan;
  • insurance agents to determine the cost of a flood insurance policy for a building; and
  • people interested in understanding what the risk from flooding in their area is.

The new maps can be viewed and compared with the existing maps using the NH Flood Hazards Viewer. Map panels and GIS data are also available for download from FEMA’s Map Service Center (currently listed on the site as “Pending” until the effective date).

The NH Office of Strategic Initiatives (NHOSI), the state NFIP-coordinating agency, is working with affected communities to ensure they understand the FEMA map adoption process and implications for their community.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to view the maps in order to understand the flood risk for their property and to contact their insurance agent to determine if the map changes affect flood insurance requirements and costs at their location. FEMA’s brochure Map Changes and Flood Insurance: What Property Owners Need to Know also includes useful information on this subject.

For more information or for answers to questions about the mapping project, contact the NHOSI Floodplain Management team, or visit their Coastal Mapping Project webpage.