NewsRegion Martin County


Do you know if the flood map has changed for your neighborhood?

FEMA launches website to debunk fake news
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 07:30:23-04

STUART, Fla. — Do you know if the flood map has changed for your neighborhood? It takes several years for FEMA to complete studies to analyze changes in elevation, but every few years, it updates flood maps.

"It's a pretty intensive study," said Christopher Van Vliet, flood plan coordinator for Martin County. "Where they bounce light from a plane off the earth and they obtain elevations that way."

Martin County underwent an update in 2015 and now its coastal communities are undergoing an update to be finalized next year.

It’s been at least 15 years since Steven Patterson has seen flooding in his Stuart neighborhood.

“The one year we had the two storms back to back it got really hairy here,” said Patterson.

Homeowners living in SE Flamingo Avenue in Stuart are living in the “X” flood zone which means they have a very low risk of flooding. So three years ago, Patterson said he dropped his flood insurance.

“I just got in a financial bind and I had to cut everywhere I could you know,” said Patterson.

But Van Vliet said the recommendation is to still get flood insurance even in those “X” zones.

“It’s indisputable there's more precipitation in the atmosphere, also we’ll be dealing with sea-level rise in the future and also more development translates to more impervious surfaces, more parking lots, there’s nowhere for the rain to go,” said Van Vliet.

Patterson said he knows there’s always a risk and plans to add flood insurance back soon. Van Vliet said residents in Martin County can look up their flood zones online in the current flood map and the preliminary ones that FEMA should finalize by March 2020.

"FEMA sets the timetable," said Van Vliet.

To view your county's flood zone map, click here.

Click here for more information and maps from Martin County.