New Flood Maps Ready - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

New Flood Maps Ready

June 3, 2005
By Theresa Schmidt

Under new flood maps, 5% percent more of Calcasieu Parish will be classified as a flood hazard area.  How it affects you will depend on where you live.

Flooding is a serious problem for residents of Calcasieu Parish, many of whom must buy flood insurance. So, it's important to residents and those buying property to know what's in a flood zone and how severe the hazard. Calcasieu planner Pam Mattingly says new flood maps are more accurate than ever. "The police jury and the City of Lake Charles actually partnered up with FEMA and provided a lot of technical information to them."

The new maps will please some no longer in a flood zone but disappoint others who are and may have to buy flood insurance. "Approximately, right now, 35% of the parish is in a special flood hazard area. With these new maps, approximately 40% of the parish will be in a special flood hazard area. Now, again, there will actually be some areas removed from the special flood hazard areas. So, just depends on which part of the parish that you're in."

The maps are available for the public to review. Before they are final the people will have a chance to protest. Juror Elizabeth Griffin says some people she represents disagree with existing flood zones: "I have received calls about that, particularly from the City of Lake Charles. Right behind Lake Charles Boston that area was considered a flood area and some of the residents didn't think it should be because they had never had that problem."

On the bright side Mattingly says because of the parish's participation in what's called the Community Rating System, people outside the cities will get an additional five per cent reduction in their flood insurance premiums when they renew next year.

People can look at the flood maps at the Calcasieu Government Building. They're in the planning department on the third floor.

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