Homeowners in Yolo County might want to look into their existing flood insurance plan.
Yolo County announced last month that FEMA would be reevaluating the existing flood maps in the area. Due to this restructuring, many Yolo County residents will now be placed in high-risk flood zones.
The new flood maps are expected to go into effect in early 2010, according to a press release.
“With this remapping, some of the [flood] zones in Yolo County are now at a higher risk,” said Beth Gabor, Yolo County spokesperson. “New property owners who didn’t previously have to carry flood insurance will now have to.“
Yolo County officials are encouraging residents to look into new or additional flood insurance, because the cost of this insurance will go up when the new flood maps take effect, she said.
After the implementation of the new flood maps, residents may have to pay up to $1,000 for one year of flood insurance.
“The maps that have been presented to the public are not finalized, they are preliminary,” Gabor added.
Draft maps of the new flood zones were delivered by FEMA to local planning departments in December, the press release said. A public comment period extends to late May or early June.
FEMA is still looking for public input on the maps, and residents are encouraged to attend one of the community workshops that will inform citizens of changes, the press release said.
The rezoning of high risk flood areas is something that is happening across the country, not just in Yolo County or California, said Lonell Butler, Yolo County flood plain manager.
To determine whether or not certain areas needed to be rezoned in terms of flooding was dependent on the certification of the levees in the area, he said.
“FEMA asked levee owners to recertify their levees, and that they would discredit the levees if they were not recertified,” Butler said. “When the owners failed to recertify their levees, the properties near [those levees] were considered higher risk flood zones.“
Local residents whose property is rezoned into a flood zone, are likely going to be required by their mortgage company to carry flood insurance if their mortgage is federally backed, Butler added.
“Residents are now running a risk by not having flood insurance,” he said.
Some local residents agree that flood insurance is necessary, but remain unconcerned about disaster.
“Our home came with general flood insurance, and I’m thinking about purchasing the FEMA insurance as well,” said Keith Leech, a new homeowner and resident of West Sacramento.
While Leech’s home is located close to the river, it is not technically located in a high-risk flood zone, and he said he is not currently concerned about severe flooding.
For more information regarding the preliminary FEMA maps for Yolo County visit: yolocounty.org.
CAITLIN COBB can be reached at email@example.com.