FEMA updates county flood maps

An update to the King County floodplain maps will be presented to residents at two upcoming public meetings.

Floodplain maps are used, among other things, to adjust flood insurance rates for landowners within them. They are created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with help from local jurisdictions.

Ken Zweig is the program manager for King County River and Floodplain management and said the main changes involve boundary adjustments.

“We just have better information available to us now,” he said. “…By having that longer record, we’re actually able to produce better maps.”

The last time some areas of the map were updated stretches back decades. As topographic, water flow and hydraulics data is collected, it is applied to more accurate maps.

Zweig said there have been 12 presidential disasters related to flooding since 1990 in King County that have had significant impacts on the county.

Every major river system in the county can experience flooding and this map update affects the Cedar, Mill Creek, Black, Sammamish and Green River systems.

“All of our major rivers have some history of flooding,” Zweig said.

According to the FEMA website, a number of factors determine the rate of flood insurance for people located within floodplains.

These include the amount of coverage purchased, the deductible, and the location, age and type of buildings.

Every jurisdiction has different regulations surrounding construction and land uses on floodplains, Zweig said.

The updated map will also inform planning, permitting, construction and the understanding of flood risks in given areas.

The updates generally reassessed the 100-year floodplains, meaning there is a 1 percent chance they will flood in any given year.

Some floodplains include one starting in North Bend and running northwest through Duvall into Snohomish County.

Others include areas of Kent, Auburn and the Skykomish River Valley.

Part of the county’s flood prevention efforts include educating people and a flood warning center that opens during floods.

Levies and other projects are also in the works to better protect communities from floods.

The first of the public meetings will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. March 20 in the banquet room of the Renton Community Center.

A second meeting will occur the following day from 6-8 p.m. in the Kent City Council chambers.

Floodplain managers from various jurisdictions will be able to answer questions for residents.

According to a county press release, homes within a high-risk flood area have a 26 percent chance of being flooded over the course of a 30-year mortgage.

Flooding isn’t unique to King County as areas in southwest Washington regularly experience floods.

A notable example was the 2007 flooding in Lewis and Thurston counties that submerged several communities.

More in News

Vader served the Redmond Police Department for more than seven years and enjoyed a four-year retirement as the Hovenden family pet. Photos courtesy of RPD
Former Redmond police K-9 Vader, dies at 13

Vader served the department for more than 7 years and spent his retirement as a full-time family pet.

Sarah Yount, former YES client, speaks at YES’s 50th anniversary celebration on Nov. 2. Madison Miller/staff photo.
Youth Eastside Services celebrates 50 years

YES celebrates 50 years of providing youth and family behavioral health services.

Sky Metalwala has been missing for seven years. Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Police plead for help in search for missing boy

Sky has been missing since Nov. 6, 2011 and turned 9 years old on Sept. 2.

Suspect arrested after stealing paychecks | Police blotter

The Redmond police blotter from Oct. 22 through 24. Courtesy of the RPD blog.

Kuderer leads Tom; Walen over Bright

Legislative District 48 race. Results are preliminary.

Democrats lead in 45th Legislative District

Dhingra, Goodman and Springer earned about two thirds of the vote.

DelBene leads in 1st Congressional District in early returns

As of election night, incumbent Suzan DelBene was leading with 69 percent of the vote, to Jeffrey Beeler’s 31 percent.

Marcus Naylor and Joshua Schaer.
                                Marcus Naylor and Joshua Schaer.
Naylor leads Eastside judicial race

Results are preliminary.

King County property assessments have begun for some Eastside neighborhoods

County property appraisers visit around one-sixth of all properties in the county each year to ensure the homes are valued correctly.

From left: Samantha Areliz (VALA curator), Marisa Mouton Provo (VALA Communication Director) and Zachary Burns (artist) look upon the Gatesville exhibit at the new VALA Eastside in Kirkland. Madison Miller/staff photo.
VALA Arts moves to Kirkland; changes name to VALA Eastside

VALA Eastside makes Kirkland its permanent home.

Upcoming shelter for women and families offers hope to Eastside

The city of Kirkland anticipates the shelter for families and women to be completed in 2020.

PSE natural gas bills will be lower this winter

This is the lowest rates the utility has provided since 2004.