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Flood Map Changes – What You Need to Know

Melody Ln & Edgewood – Hurricane Harvey

There’s lots of talk in the Houston Bay Area real estate market about the Flood Map changes going into effect on August 15th. Who does it affect? How much will it cost? Here’s what our clients need to know about these changes:

The new changes are for Galveston County only and NOT the result of Hurricane Harvey

It may come as a surprise to you (OR, maybe not!) that the flood map changes going into effect in 2019 are based on the floodwater patterns of a previous hurricane – Hurricane Ike, back in September 2008. Though there will surely be changes to the flood maps as a result of the catastrophic flooding from Harvey, those changes are in the distant future and did not play a role in the current changes.

Most of the changes are in Galveston, Kemah, and the mouth of Clear Lake

Nearly all of the 2019 flood map changes affect Galveston Island, Tiki, Bayou Vista, Kemah, and the Galveston County areas surrounding Clear Lake. As an example, the ‘base flood’ level in some parts of these areas is being raised from 11 feet to 14 feet for any new construction. Also, a new flood zone will be established – Flood Zone V – which will apply to areas where moving water is likely to encounter buildings and structures (such as wave or tidal motion).

High water rescues – Hurricane Harvey, Friendswood

‘I didn’t flood in Harvey, so there’s no way I’m ever flooding’

Most of us have either heard this statement, or uttered it ourselves! So, here’s another interesting stat: In Hurricane Ike in 2008, approximately 25% of the homes affected by flooding were NOT in the 100-year floodplain. But during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the percentage shoots up to nearly 50 percent, with most of those homes being ‘first time floods’! The reason? Well, not only was Harvey one of the worst rain events in modern US history, but the engineers designing the floodmaps look at PAST storm and flood data to determine your future risk. Unfortunately, frequent and ongoing changes to drainage, retention, culverts, and continuing urban concrete sprawl all affect your likelihood of flooding.


Flood Insurance – You Should Have It

The bottom line for all our friends, neighbors, and clients in the Houston Bay Area – you should carry flood insurance. If you aren’t in a flood zone (your home lies in Zone X), then flood insurance premiums are relatively inexpensive – around $490 or so per year. And all that construction we see everywhere in Pearland, Friendswood, League City, and beyond? It’s almost certainly affecting the flow of water in our nearly-flat region. So, you may not have ever flooded and you hopefully never will, but the water channels in our area are constantly shifting – is it worth the risk?

For more information, check out the links below for other articles about floodmaps and a map of the proposed changes. And as always, give us a call with questions!


Proposed Flood Map Galveston County

FEMA Flood Map Changes


The Stanfield Team
Stanfield Properties