KAMM Updates

Kentucky Watches, Warnings or Advisories  – Weather Alerts Follow the alerts, link here.


KAMM’s 15th Anniversary!  

2019 KAMM Conference

KAMM XV: Celebrate the Past, Inspire the Future

Lake Barkley State Resort Park

September 17-19, 2019

September 16, 2019 – Pre-conference Workshop and Activities

Conference Recap: Link here.  

Conference Photos: Link here

Thanks for Attending the Conference!  


Announcing KAMM’s New Logo

We are thrilled to introduce our new colorful KAMM logo!!

KAMM is fifteen this year.  At fifteen, it seemed appropriate to revisit KAMM’s logo.  The current logo only emphasizes Kentucky’s number one natural hazard – flooding – and has remained unchanged through KAMM’s first decade and a half.  We wanted a refresh to kick off our 15th celebration. 

To suit our growing and ever-changing membership base, we would like to introduce a logo that is more inclusive to the hazards of the Commonwealth.  Let’s walk through the new KAMM logo that symbolizes the categories of natural hazards. 

  • The familiar rippling water symbol remains, as Kentucky must always prepare for floods as our number one hazard.
  • Note rocks sliding down KAMM’s “K” that represent our geologic hazards (landslides, sinkholes and earthquakes).
  • Straight-line winds, hail, and severe weather are signified by the whirl of a tornado.
  • Wildfire and forest fires are denoted by the orange flames around burning trees.

Finally, we have encapsulated our natural hazards symbols within the boundary of the Commonwealth, representing that we are in this together.  We are KAMM Family.


FEMA Announces Two Grants

FEMA is announcing that $410 million in funding is available through two Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs.  These competitive grant programs open October 1, 2019.

  • The FMA grant program provides funds for measures to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  New in this application cycle, FEMA has set-aside $70 million of the $160 million in FMA grant funds for community flood mitigation proposals.  
  • The PDM grant program provides funds for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster.  The goal of the PDM grant program is to reduce overall risk to the population and structures, while at the same time reducing reliance on federal funding from actual disaster declarations.  In FY19, $250 million is available for PDM grants

Link to the information for each grant program.

Join the e-Grants webinars, see the insert for dates in October.  

Pre-Applications will need to be submitted in the eGrants system at https://portal.fema/gov by Friday, October 25.  Applications will need to be complete and submitted in the eGrants system by Monday, December 2. 


Drought Level 1 and Level 2 Declarations Cover the Commonwealth

October 3, 2019

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Office of the State Climatologist, in coordination with the Kentucky drought mitigation team, have issued a Level 2 drought declaration for 78 counties and a Level 1 declaration for 42 counties.

  • A Level 2 drought declaration has been issued for areas in eastern, central and parts of western Kentucky and could lead to substantial agricultural losses, diminished stream flows in small streams and rivers and increases in the occurrence of wildfires. 
  • A Level 1 drought declaration has been issued for areas in western and northeastern Kentucky indicating moderate to severe drought conditions have developed primarily affecting soil moisture and vegetative health.  

Public water supplies are not seriously affected at this time, but persistent drought conditions will increase the risk of water shortage conditions, especially for those systems relying on small lakes, small headwater streams and wells located in drought-vulnerable aquifers.  Low water levels in lakes can also lead to water quality issues that could present treatment challenges for utilities.

Matt Dixon, with the UK Ag Weather Center, said data at the weather center showed the state averaged only 0.28 inches of rain during the month.  The forecast shows relief from the record heat beginning later this week, but the long-term outlooks indicates below-normal precipitation for the next 30 days.

The Kentucky Drought Mitigation and Response Plan defines a tiered approach to classifying drought severity using multiple indicators to assess the intensity and location of a developing drought.  These indicators include the Drought Monitor, Palmer Drought Index, Crop Moisture Index, and precipitation and streamflow measurements.

More information about drought declaration criteria can be found in the Kentucky Drought Mitigation and Response Plan.




DOW Webinar Series

What Is My BFE? – How to Find Your Base Flood Elevation Webinar

Thursday, Nov 7, 2019 / 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST

Presenter: Alex VanPelt, DOW

This 60-minute KDOW webinar session will provide an overview of how the BFE is calculated and will show floodplain managers and other stakeholders, how to find these elevations in the Commonwealth.  This session will also include a live demonstration of how to use the available tools available to floodplain managers to find these elevations. 

The target audience for this webinar is floodplain managers, local community officials, elected leaders, surveyors, engineers, lenders, real estate professionals, and insurance agents.

For more information and to register, link here.  


FEMA Seeks Comment for Public Assistance Guide and Webinars

October 2019

The fourth edition of the Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide is scheduled for publication in January 2020.  FEMA is releasing the updated draft version for a 45-day public comment period.  The draft guide and accompanying comments matrix is located on the FEMA website.  FEMA will accept public comments submitted through Nov. 18.

FEMA requests that all comments be submitted to FEMA-PAPolicy@fema.dhs.gov using the comments matrix.

FEMA will host two webinars for state and local partners on the changes to Version 4 of the guide and the process for submitting comments.  Both webinars will cover the same information.

  • Webinar 1: Oct. 16 from 3:30 – 4:30 ET
    Register on Adobe Connect
    Teleconference: 800-320-4330, PIN 835947#
  • Webinar 2: Oct. 17 from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. ET
    Register on Adobe Connect
    Teleconference: 800-320-4330, PIN 835947#


Announcing 2019 KenTenn Weather Workshop

Saturday, November 16

Western Kentucky University

9 am-5 pm CST

The 2019 KenTenn Weather Workshop will be held in the Topper Club – at the TOP of WKU’s Houchen Industries / LT Smith Football Stadium!  

Use the links below to register as an attendee AND/OR to sign up for FREE booth space! 

KenTenn is a free event designed for Kentucky and Tennessee residents but open to all!  We’ll have presentations and posters by several current and future meteorologists from the National Weather Service, TV stations, private forecasting companies, and area universities.

There will be great weather presentations for adults as well as kids.  The Keynote Speaker – Dr. Victor Gensinni from Northern Illinois University – will speak on his research in seasonal tornado forecasting.  We’ll have other presentations on Flash Flooding, Radar Training, Winter Weather, Drone-use in Damage Surveys, and lots more!  

KenTenn 2019 is hosted by NWS Louisville, NWS Paducah, NWS Nashville, NWS Jackson, Western Kentucky University, and Kentucky Emergency Management.


October Free Webinars from Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM)


Wetland Mapping Consortium Webinar

National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 2016 Data

October 23, 2019 – 3-4:30 pm ET

Presenters: George Xian, U.S. Geological Survey and Collin Homer, U.S. Geological Survey

More information and registration here.

Compensatory Mitigation Webinar

An Ecological Framework for Reviewing Compensatory Mitigation: Oversight and Compliance

October 24, 2019 – 2-4:30 pm ET


  • Kristina Hall, Army Corps of Engineers
    • Sarah Woodford, VA Department of Environmental Quality
    • Ashely Zavagno, CA WRA

Register here.


2019 Publication, Program Updates and Releases

DRRA Section 1231 Fact Sheet: Acquisition of Property for Open Space and Policy Clarification

October 2019

Through its Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs, FEMA funds the voluntary acquisition of hazard-prone properties from private owners.  Property acquisition is not new for FEMA; however, DRRA Section 1231 contains new requirements for the project notification process and emphasizes a community’s responsibilities regarding acquired land.

The newly released DRRA Section 1231 Fact Sheet outlines these new requirements for state, tribal, territorial and local governments and supplements existing FEMA guidance on property acquisition projects per the DRRA.

FEMA also released a policy clarification on the Eligibility of Hazard Mitigation Assistance Applications with Pre-Award Demolitions.  This policy clarifies that when private individuals have demolished damaged structures using private funds or other non-federal funds prior to application for HMA funding, the properties will now be eligible for inclusion in HMA project applications if the demolition is not connected to the project.  The demolition costs cannot be included in the project application. 


October 2019 NFIP Program Changes

New four-minute Online Video!
The National Flood Insurance Program continues to undergo change. 
Some of the change is aimed at providing a better customer experience for policyholders while other changes continue the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.  This new short video explains the key elements of changes to the NFIP that are effective October 1, 2019.

What You Will Learn:  The October Program Changes video details three NFIP program changes related to:

  • National Producer Numbers
  • Specific Rating Guidelines
  • The Community Rating System Eligible Communities List

Flood Insurance Rates Increase

October 2019

On Oct. 1, FEMA announced key changes for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), to begin on April 1, 2020.  These changes include updated increases to conform to the premium rate caps established by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA).   

Beginning on April 1, 2020, renewal premiums will increase an average of 11.3 percent.  These amounts do not include the HFIAA Surcharge, or the Federal Policy Fee (FPF).  Nearly 80 percent of policyholders already pay a full-risk rate and will therefore not experience this rate increase.  The Severe Repetitive Loss Premium is increasing to 10 percent for all policies covering properties with that designation.

In addition, it was also announced that annual premium increases of 14.9 percent for preferred risk policies and 14.8 percent for newly mapped procedure policies will be effective on Jan. 1, 2021.

In addition to the rate increases, revisions to the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual, which is updated twice a year, took effect Oct. 1, 2019.  FEMA incorporated the NFIP program changes published in April 2019 into this edition.  The updated edition of the “Flood Insurance Manual” does not change flood insurance coverage or supersede the terms and conditions of the standard flood insurance policy.  The changes in effect include:

  • An updated list of Community Rating System eligible communities (Table 3).
  • An updated list of resources and contact information for technical assistance.
  • Several updates or changes to various Letters of Map Revision.

The two bulletins announcing these October changes are available online.  Visit FEMA.gov to review the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual.


New CDBG-DR Policy Guide for Grantees

October 2019

The Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Policy Guide reflects guidance provided in CDBG-DR Federal Register Notices and policy documents since 2016. It provides grantees, subrecipients, and program partners with central and easy access to recent HUD policy guidance indexed based on common disaster recovery topics:

  • General Program Requirements
  • Housing Activities
  • Voluntary Purchases of Real Property (Buyouts and Acquisitions)
  • Economic Development/Revitalization
  • Public Facilities and Public Improvements
  • Other Program Requirements

This guide will assist grantees to develop and administer CDBG-DR programs in compliance with HUD rules and cross-cutting federal regulations.

Link to View the CDBG-DR Policy Guide for Grantees.


Guidelines for Wind Vulnerability Assessments of Existing Critical Facilities

October 2019

FEMA’s Building Science Branch Releases Guidelines for Wind Vulnerability Assessments of Existing Critical Facilities, a manual for design professionals.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as other recent storms including Hurricane Michael in Florida, resulted in extensive wind damage to critical facilities.  FEMA Building Science, Region II, and DR-4339, in coordination with partners and subject matter experts, has developed FEMA P-2062: Guidelines for Wind Vulnerability Assessments of Existing Critical Facilities. The manual incorporates observations and lessons learned from recent and past hurricanes, current building code requirements, and other historic high wind events.

The purpose of this manual is to provide design professionals with guidelines for assessing the vulnerability of critical facilities to wind pressure, wind-borne debris, and wind-driven rain.  The guidelines apply to critical facilities both within and outside hurricane-prone regions as well as to critical facilities in tornado-prone regions.  

The results of an assessment can be used by building owners; design professionals; entities that award repair, reconstruction, or mitigation grants; as well as state, local, tribal, and territorial government agencies developing mitigation plans.


New Three-Dimensional Roof Snowdrifts Design Guide

October 2019

Following a series of heavy snow and wind events in February of 2015, a FEMA team assessed four partial school building collapses in the Greater Boston area.  In all four cases, the partial collapses were due to roof snowdrift loading.

When following the current ASCE 7 minimum load requirements for three-dimensional snow drifts, the FEMA team observed and documented that in two cases 3-D drifts cannot be determined.  In this new design guide, FEMA provides guidance for determining 3-D roof snowdrift loads through design examples.   The procedures identified are consistent with the intersecting drift provisions expected in the 2022 edition of ASCE 7.  In the interim until the published revisions, these provisions are intended to serve as best practice guidance for design professionals.   

The Three-Dimensional Roof Snowdrifts Design Guide is available here.


FEMA Announces National Mitigation Investment Strategy

August 13, 2019

FEMA, in close coordination with experts across governmental agencies, academia and non-governmental organizations, released the National Mitigation Investment Strategy.  The strategy is intended to improve the coordination and effectiveness of mitigation investments, defined as risk management actions taken to avoid, reduce or transfer risks from natural hazards.  The Investment Strategy’s overarching goal is to improve the coordination and effectiveness of “mitigation investments,” defined as risk management actions taken to avoid, reduce, or transfer risks from natural hazards, including severe weather.

This document provides a national, whole-community approach to investments in mitigation activities and risk management across federal, state, local, and tribal and territorial governments, as well as the private and non-profit sectors.  Recommendations proposed in the strategy will reduce loss of life and injures, damage to property, and negative impacts to the economy and the environment, and lead the whole community in building a more resilient future.

Below are recent examples of EPA’s continued dedication and investment in mitigation strategies across the country.

  • Regional Resilience Technical Assistance – After helping three California regions take large-scale action for disaster resilience, EPA and FEMA partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission/Association of Bay Area Governments to create a toolkit that helps regions plan for disasters by working across multiple jurisdictions and with non-governmental partners.  The Regional Resilience Toolkit provides a step-by-step process to help decision makers engage with partners and stakeholders, conduct vulnerability assessments, identify and prioritize strategies, fund projects, and evaluate results. 
  • Integrating Water Quality and Nature-Based Approaches into Hazard Mitigation Plans – EPA’s Office of Water and Office of Community Revitalization are partnering with FEMA to help states and communities integrate hazard mitigation plans and water quality plans.  Project locations include: Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Albany, New York; Huntington, West Virginia; Ashland, Oregon; State of Kentucky; Lower Meramec Valley, Missouri; Denton, Texas; Phoenix/Maricopa County, Arizona; and Mystic River in Massachusetts.  Results, to date, demonstrate the benefits of using green infrastructure for multiple community goals including hazard mitigation, water quality, and floodplain management.  Several of the communities are already seeing reduced flood insurance rates based on adoption of stormwater policies that reduce risk. 
  • Building Flood Resilience in Vermont – In 2011, Tropical Storm Irene caused significant flood damage to historic structures, homes and businesses in Vermont’s Mad River Valley.  In 2012 at Vermont’s request, EPA partnered with FEMA to identify state and local policy options to increase community flood resilience.  The state adopted several of the strategies that emerged from the workshop.  The project developed a Flood Resilience Checklist that communities can use to assess their preparedness for future flooding events. The state provided this checklist to several other Vermont communities through a follow up project, the Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative, and the checklist is the basis for the Flood Resilience for Riverine and Coastal Communities tool offered by EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.

Three New NFIP Technical Bulletins

August 2019

The updated NFIP Technical Bulletins (TBs) 0, 4, and 8 are now available and serve to provide guidance for complying with the minimum National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) floodplain management requirements pertaining to building performance.  Together with the other eight bulletins, the TBs will be updated to modernize and streamline their content and presentation.  The bulletins are primarily for use by state and local officials responsible for interpreting and enforcing building codes and NFIP regulations.  They are also helpful for design professionals, builders, and homeowners.

The updated TBs:

  • Incorporate relevant information from the latest International Codes® (I-Codes®) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Standards;
  • Provide updated guidance and best practices observed from post-disaster assessments; and
  • Address known issues identified by a wide range of stakeholders.

These changes are intended to improve the TBs’ usability, credibility, and content while presenting them in a streamlined format.  Overarching additions will include new introductory text, updated tables, figures, photos and references along with a section on applicable codes and standards.  All updated TBs have tables comparing codes/standards to the NFIP regulations.

TB 0, User’s Guide to Technical Bulletins – TB 0 describes the purpose and intended use of the Technical Bulletin series’, includes common concepts and terms, lists useful resources, and contains a subject index.  New features in TB 0 include:

  • Sections on how to use the TBs;
  • A crosswalk between the NFIP Regulations and TBs;
  • A compilation of key terms, useful resources, and supplemental information from succeeding TBs; and
  • Discussion on four key concepts and requirements for structures: Special Flood Hazard Areas, lowest floor/enclosure/basement, Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage and coastal waves.

TB 4, Elevators in Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas – TB 4 discusses the NFIP requirements for elevator machinery and equipment that serve buildings and provides guidance on the installation of elevators in special food hazard areas.  Elevator types and their associated equipment are described, along with practical methods of protecting elevators from food damage.

The updated TB 4 includes:

  • Expanded discussion on the primary types of elevators and other conveyance mechanisms used in residential and commercial buildings, hydraulic elevators and traction elevators, pneumatic elevators, chair lifts, and platform lifts;
  • Clarification of the definition of “basement” as it relates to the construction of elevator pits; and
  • Tables summarizing elevator system components, their physical location, and recommended food protection techniques.

TB 8, Corrosion Protection for Metal Connectors and Fasteners in Coastal Areas – TB 8 provides guidance on the NFIP requirement for maintaining a building’s load paths.  It also provides readers with an understanding of the importance of connectors and fasteners with proper corrosion protection in coastal areas.

New features in TB 8 include guidance for:

  • How to select an appropriate connector and fastener material based on its intended location on the building;
  • How preservative treated wood can impact corrosion protection and a sample wood product identification tag;
  • Expanded descriptions of connector and fastener materials, corrosion protection coatings and maintenance, including inspection and scheduled replacement; and
  • Guidance for the selection of connectors and fasteners with various corrosion resistant materials and treatments and how combining dissimilar metals can cause premature corrosion.

Access the current Technical Bulletins and stay updated by visiting our website at: http://www.fema.gov/nfp-technical-bulletins.


BCA Toolkit Version 6.0

July 23, 2019

FEMA released the BCA Toolkit Version 6.0.   Version 6.0 replaces previous versions of the BCA Toolkit with the exception of the seismic building retrofit BCAs (see note below).

Some major features of Version 6.0 include:

  • Excel-based platform
  • Compatible with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems
  • Streamlined user interface and improved user experience
  • Reduction in the number of manual-input data fields
  • Improved help content
  • Improved report formatting

Note:  Users should continue to utilize version 5.3 to conduct BCAs for seismic building retrofit projects (structure and non-structural).   See the release notes for additional details.


FEMA Issues Planning Considerations: Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place Guidance 

July 2019

FEMA has released Planning Considerations: Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place: Guidance for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Partners today.  The document draws upon the collective experience of those partners to provide relevant concepts, principals, and guidance as a resource for emergency managers and planners.

Evacuation and shelter-in-place protective actions are prompted by a variety of threats and hazards.  Incident-specific circumstances drive the relevant protective actions based on a community’s demographics, infrastructure, resources, authorities, and decision-making process.  Determining that an evacuation needs to take place is not an all-or-nothing approach.  Lessons learned from recent disasters, to include hurricanes, wildfires, and floods, have highlighted the value of enacting a zone-phased approach to evacuation and shelter-in-place, enabling jurisdictions to move as few people as necessary.  Sheltering-in-place populations that are not directly in harm’s way, rather than having them evacuate, can help jurisdictions reduce costs and resource requirements, and limit the negative impacts of evacuations, while promoting improved response and quicker re-entry and recovery.

FEMA will host a series of 60-minute webinars to discuss the document, related efforts, and answer participants’ questions.  The webinars will be open to the whole community.

To view the document and for additional webinar information, please visit https://www.fema.gov/plan.


FEMA Releases 2019 National Threat Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

July 29, 2019

FEMA released the latest national Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA), which is the process to identify catastrophic threats and hazards, and associated consequences and the capabilities the nation needs to address those hazards.

FEMA designed the THIRA methodology to support collaboration between state and local governments, federal agencies, and other emergency management entities.  The new National THIRA relies on this same methodology to provide a holistic depiction of the nation’s readiness on all hazards, at all level of government. This common assessment will allow FEMA and other federal agencies to track progress over time and provide concrete answers in specific, measurable terms to the question: “How prepared is the nation?”

Link to the 2019 National Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA): Overview and Methodology.


FEMA Announces New Wildfire Aid

July 2019

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds are now available to support wildfire recovery and implement mitigation projects absent a major disaster declaration. 

This new post fire program, titled HMGP Post Fire, is part of the agency’s implementation of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) of 2018. Section 1204 of the DRRA amended Sections 404 and Section 420 of the Stafford Act, and allows FEMA to provide HMGP Post Fire assistance to any area that received a Fire Management Assistance grant (FMAG) declaration under Section 420 on or after October 5, 2018.  In recent fiscal years, HMGP funds were provided for these post-fire events on a temporary basis; the amended Section 404 (and 420) now permits permanent funding under HMGP.

FEMA encourages the mitigation of wildfire and related hazards, such as flood or erosion.  The amount of funding available to recipients will be determined by the type of hazard mitigation plan, i.e., standard or enhanced, approved for each state, territory, or tribe, and the number of FMAG declarations recipients receive during a fiscal year (Oct 1-Sept 30).  Federally-recognized tribes may apply as recipients if they have burned land from the FMAG-declared event.  Project funding is prioritized based on project type and location.

Read more about the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Post Fire Program.


Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate Releases 2018 Annual Report

July 2019

The Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate (OFIA) recently announced the release of the 2018 Annual Report. The report is intended to increase transparency, and to support the ongoing improvements to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with the goal of reducing its complexity.

In 2018, the OFIA identified four primary policyholder and property owner frustrations, which included recommendations that present opportunities for reducing the complexity of FEMA:

  • Confusion Regarding Premium Increases
  • Confusion Regarding Condominium Coverage
  • Misunderstanding Claim Impacts When Assuming a Non-Primary Residence
  • Lack of Refunds for Prior Policy Terms After a Letter of Map Amendment is Issued

The mission of the OFIA is to advocate for the fair treatment of policyholders and property owners by providing education and guidance on all aspects of the NFIP, identifying trends affecting the public, and making recommendations for program improvements to FEMA leadership.


Post Hurricane Michael Recovery, Resilience, and Mitigation

July 2019

Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) released two Recovery Advisories providing guidance to help improve the resilience of buildings to natural disasters.  Hurricane Michael flooding and high-winds resulted in extensive damage to all types of buildings in the Florida panhandle. 

FEMA Building Science, in coordination with many partners, has developed two Recovery Advisories to assist a variety of interested stakeholders in rebuilding more resiliently by providing design and construction guidance to help minimize damage from future storm events.  Both advisories can be downloaded from FEMA’s website https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/180337.

Hurricane Michael Recovery Advisory 1 – Successfully Retrofitting Buildings for Wind Resistance

This Recovery Advisory provides examples of ineffective wind retrofits and guidance on an approach that can be taken to comprehensively evaluate vulnerabilities of buildings located in hurricane-prone regions for effectively applying key wind retrofits.  The guidelines are applicable not only for buildings that have recently been damaged by wind, but also for buildings that have not experienced wind damage.  

This Recovery Advisory focuses on critical facilities, but is also applicable to other types of buildings, both residential and non-residential.  The primary audience is building owners and operators, design professionals, contractors, and entities that fund retrofits.  These guidelines are intended to help building owners and operators, design professionals, contractors, and entities that fund retrofits, prevent or limit wind damage and water infiltration during high-wind events.

Hurricane Michael Recovery Advisory 2 – Best Practices for Minimizing Wind and Water Infiltration Damage

This Recovery Advisory provides important recommendations to reduce wind and water infiltration damage to new and existing residential buildings.  The recommendations discussed are from existing FEMA Building Science resources, including recovery advisories published after Hurricane Irma, and also include new recommendations and best practices based on observations made by the FEMA MAT after Hurricane Michael.

The primary audience includes building owners, operators, and managers; design professionals; building officials; contractors; and municipal building, and planning officials.


Flood Risk Communication Toolkit

May 2019

FEMA’s Risk Management Directorate released their Flood Risk Communication Toolkit and YouTube video series.  The Toolkit and videos help FEMA deliver on its promise to provide simpler, more consistent experiences for its customers.  These resources are designed to empower community officials when talking with the public about flood risk in the effort to create more resilient homes and communities.  

The Flood Risk Communication Toolkit includes several components, including a Start Guide that introduces the user to the components and provides helpful tips for discussing complex risk topics in a meaningful way. 

The YouTube video series includes eight 2- to 5-minute videos that showcase personal stories from around the country that communicate technical information in a relatable manner.

  • Intro to the NFIP
  • Flood Insurance and Communities
  • Flood Risk Basics and Communities
  • Intro to Risk MAP
  • Providing input as map is developed
  • Collecting data to create flood maps
  • We have a Map. Now what?
  • Mitigation

FEMA’s YouTube channelhttps://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL720Kw_OojlIUiWw2bDc-On5MjQw13E6e



National Inventory of Dams Now Available to the Public

February 2019

What once was a highly restricted database that required requesting special access, the National Inventory of Dams (NID), is now open and available for public download.  The NID is a congressionally authorized database documenting dams in the United States and its territories.  It is maintained and published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and in collaboration with the FEMA aims to obtain more accurate and complete information.

The NID is available at http://nid.usace.army.mil and was populated using the 116th Congressional District information and all charts, queries and maps reflect the most current NID database. State and federal dam regulators provided their data from May to November 2018 for inclusion in the 2018 database.

Major changes to the 2018 NID allow users to download or export certain NID data and to view the hazard potential classification.  State or federal agencies may restrict access to information on dams within their jurisdiction, so for information not published in the NID, USACE recommends consulting the agency exercising responsibility over the dam.  The hazard potential classification, as published in the NID, does not reflect the condition of a dam.  That information can be found in the condition assessment, which is available to approved government users.  Historically, the NID has been published every two years.  Starting in 2019, the NID will be updated annually.

The goal of the NID is to include all dams in the U.S. that meet specific criteria, yet, is limited to information that can be gathered and properly interpreted with the given funding.  The NID initially consisted of approximately 45,000 dams, which were gathered from extensive record searches and some feature extraction from aerial imagery.  Since continued and methodical updates have been conducted, data collection has been focused on the most reliable data sources, which are the many federal and state government dam construction and regulation offices and now is up to 90,000 dams.  In most cases, dams within the NID criteria are regulated (construction permit, inspection, and/or enforcement) by federal or state agencies, who have basic information on the dams within their jurisdiction.

The NID consists of dams meeting at least one of the following criteria:

(1) High hazard potential classification – loss of human life is likely if the dam fails;

(2) Significant hazard potential classification – no probable loss of human life but can cause economic loss, environmental damage, disruption of lifeline facilities, or impact other concerns;

(3) Equal or exceed 25 feet in height and exceed 15 acre-feet in storage;

(4) Equal or exceed 50 acre-feet storage and exceed 6 feet in height.

For further information on the National Inventory of Dams visit: https://www.fema.gov/2018-national-inventory-dams.  To access and download the database visit: http://nid.usace.army.mil


FEMA Releases State-Led Public Assistance Guide

February 2019

This week, FEMA released the “State-Led Public Assistance Guide”, providing additional resources for recipients to lead some or all aspects of Public Assistance operations for smaller disasters.  State-led Public Assistance maximizes specialized features of the Public Assistance delivery process to enhance the capacity of recipients to achieve local communities’ immediate and long-term recovery goals.  Aligning with FEMA 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, state-led Public Assistance operations preserves federal resources for catastrophic disasters and strengthen the emergency management enterprise to one that is federally supported, state-managed, and locally executed.

The benefits of State-led Public Assistance programs include:

  • Allowing recipients to provide tailored customer service for sub-recipients.
  • Providing opportunities for recipients to enhance or build capabilities to support disaster recovery.
  • Enhancing the recipient role in shaping and achieving desired recovery outcomes.
  • Encouraging recipients to build upon existing relationships and familiarity with their applicant base to increase efficiency throughout grant lifecycle.

Public Assistance provides disaster grant assistance to recipients and sub-recipients to help communities quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies.  FEMA authorized recipients to lead PA delivery for small, federally declared disasters since 2001, which has resulted in several recipients demonstrating ability to lead Public Assistance operations with varying levels of federal oversight.


FEMA Releases New Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide

February 2019

FEMA developed the Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide (IAPPG), which is an inclusive, single-policy resource for all Individual Assistance (IA) programs.  The new guide consolidates policies for the Individuals and Households Program Fact Sheet, Mass Care and Emergency Assistance, and the Community Services Program into one document.  The guide also replaces the Individuals and Households Program Unified Guidance (IHPUG) as the primary reference resource for IA programs.

The IAPPG provides a comprehensive policy resource for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, non-governmental partners, and other entities that assist survivors during disasters.  Resources written specifically for disaster survivors can be found at https://www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance.

The IAPPG furthers the goal of reducing the complexity of FEMA as outlined in the agency’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.


After a Disaster: Recovery Assistance for Emergency Service Organizations

February 19, 2019

The FEMA Public Assistance grant program helps emergency service organizations with funding to repair and rebuild facilities after a disaster.  The days following a presidentially declared disaster can be overwhelming for those left to pick up the pieces of their lives.  Disaster survivors who need information on grant programs for homeowners and renters can apply for assistance from FEMA.  However, what about public facilities like your fire or Emergency Medical Services (EMS) departments that are damaged by a disaster?

Good news: FEMA is also there for your emergency services department to help you repair or rebuild your facility.

Your organization may receive FEMA Public Assistance funding for:

  • Debris removal (tree limbs, branches, stumps or trees that are still in place but damaged to the extent they pose an immediate threat).
  • Emergency protective measures (pre-positioning equipment, use of temporary generators and security, such as barricades).
  • Repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged facilities, equipment and apparatus.
  • Eligible costs associated with mutual aid.

In most situations, your headquarters, emergency operations center, dispatch center and other response systems will have the documentation needed to support requests for reimbursement costs.

How much will FEMA pay?  FEMA’s share of assistance is not less than 75 percent of the eligible cost.  The recipient (usually your state) determines how the nonfederal share (up to 25 percent) is split with a sub recipient (your organization).  Volunteer work and donated equipment, supplies and resources may be used to offset the nonfederal share of eligible costs.

Learn more about eligibility, guidelines and the application process for Public Assistance from FEMA.


FEMA Informs NFIP Participating Communities of Program Modifications

February 2019

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 directs federal agencies to thoroughly assess the environmental consequences of major federal actions that could significantly affect the environment.  In May 2018, FEMA published a Record of Decision in the Federal Register  to announce its intent to implement the Preferred Alternative program modifications to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). FEMA undertook the preparation of a Nationwide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (NPEIS) and completed the Record of Decision because changes to the NFIP are considered to be a major federal action. As a first step toward implementation, FEMA is sending an awareness letter to more than 22,000 communities that participate in the NFIP.

The program modifications contained in the Preferred Alternative to the NFIP NPEIS are needed to implement the legislative requirements of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, and to demonstrate compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The three primary NFIP component areas are mapping, insurance, and floodplain management.

At this time, NFIP participating communities are not required to implement the program modifications contained in the Record of Decision’s Preferred Alternative.  FEMA is continuing its outreach to ensure communities are aware of the forthcoming changes.  FEMA will continue to develop the necessary policies and processes to implement the program modifications listed in the final NPEIS, and will coordinate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The final NPEIS, Record of Decision and a copy of the Community Awareness Letter are available on FEMA.gov at https://www.fema.gov/programmatic-environmental-impact-statement.



January 2019

The updates to FloodSmart.gov incorporates social science and website usage research as well as best practices for a streamlined and customer-centric experience.  The next phase of the website launch will include insurance agent toolkits, social media templates, marketing tools, and flood map change toolkits.

For Consumers, the website focuses on flood insurance …

  • Why Buy or Renew
  • How to Buy or Renew
  • Understanding Costs
  • Before and After a Flood

The BIG Cost of Flooding – Interactive Tool – Whether people in your community end up having to repair or replace their building and or its contents, recovering from flood damage is expensive!  Most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so it is important for citizens to speak with their insurance agent or company to find what their policies cover.

To help communicate some of these costs to people, Floodsmart.gov has created an interactive tool to show people the flood recovery costs of several different flood depths for multiple home sizes.  To see the interactive tool, visit https://www.floodsmart.gov/costOfFlooding/index.html.

FloodSmart.gov is the official website of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).


News from 2018 Worthy of Repeating 

Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2018 Interim Report

New National Institute of Building Sciences study on mitigation finds that modern, regularly updated building codes save lives and protect property.  The National Institute of Building Sciences released the Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2018 Interim Report at its annual conference, “Building Innovation 2019.”

The 2018 interim report updates and expands upon mitigation measures studied in 2005 by evaluating a broad suite of mitigation measures that can inform decision-making around investments to reduce the impacts of natural hazards.

The project team studied four categories of natural hazard mitigation efforts to date:

  1. Design of typical new buildings to exceed certain requirements of the 2015 IBC and IRC, and to conform to the 2015 IWUIC
  2. Design of typical new buildings to comply with the 2018 IBC and IRC, compared with 1990-era design requirements
  3. Mitigation of existing buildings funded by FEMA, EDA, and HUD.
  4. Natural-hazard mitigation for utilities and transportation lifelines.

The study found that adopting the 2018 International Codes generates a national benefit of $11 for every $1 invested.  The I-Codes are the most widely used and adopted set of building safety codes in the world.  This report follows a multi-year study on natural hazard mitigation and comes more than a decade after NIBS’ original report on mitigation.  The project team studied flood risk, hurricane wind hazards and earthquake risk.  They found that the national mitigation benefit-cost ratio associated with code adoption is

  • $6 to $1 for floods,
  • $10 to $1 for hurricanes, and
  • $12 to $1 for earthquakes, with benefits coming through avoided casualties, post-traumatic stress, property damage, business interruptions and insurance premiums.

The results show that all building stakeholders benefit from regularly updated codes—from developers, lenders, tenants and communities.  Communities that consistently meet the latest editions of the I-Codes, culminating in the 2018 editions, have added 30,000 new jobs to the construction-materials industry.

Last year’s interim report also found that adoption of the 2015 International Wildland Urban Interface Code provided a $4 to $1 mitigation benefit against wildfire risk.  These findings demonstrate the importance of regular updates to the building codes and strong code enforcement in order to mitigate damage from natural disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes and flooding.

Download the report here.


Water Organizations of Kentucky – Water Organizations of Kentucky

August 2018

Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute (KWRRI), created the poster, Water Organizations of Kentucky, to serve as an overview of water organizations and facilitate networking among organizations.  Download here: Water Organizations of Kentucky (PDF, 1pg).

If you would like to purchase a printed copy of the poster, please contact kwrri@uky.edu.


KAMM Receives 2018 Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador Recognition

November 2018
We are very pleased to be recognized by the National Weather Service (NWS) as a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador for the organization’s support to NWS’ goal of creating a Weather-Ready Nation.  The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador initiative is an effort to formally recognize NOAA partners who are improving the nation’s readiness against extreme weather, water, and climate events.
KAMM promoted NWS efforts in the Community Collaborative Rain Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network by providing several dozen official CoCoRaHS rain gauges as speaker gifts and door prizes at our 2018 conference at Lake Barkley State Resort Park.  Everyone that received a rain gauge agreed to participate in the CoCoRaHS citizen science network.  Through these efforts, KAMM strengthened an already valuable Weather-Ready Nation partnership. KAMM has collaborated with the NWS offices in Kentucky for nearly 15 years in an effort to promote mitigation of natural hazards in the Commonwealth.
Link to a Story Map highlighting our recognition and many others at: https://noaa.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapTour/index.html?appid=38d9ed51a5e14a4b9c32342ea3da06dd.

FEMA Announces Interim Management Costs Policies

November 15, 2018

FEMA released two interim polices Nov. 15 as part of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA) implementation.

On Oct. 5, 2018, President Trump signed the DRRA into law.  The legislation contains critical reforms to federal disaster programs.  To begin implementation of these reforms, both the FEMA Public Assistance Management Costs (Interim) Policy and the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Management Costs (Interim) Policy are now available. Follow the linked Policy titles.

Both policies will offer greater flexibility to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and may allow more funding to manage Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and Public Assistance programs.  Under these interim policies, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners may be allowed higher rates of reimbursement for their management costs when implementing Public Assistance (12 percent) and Hazard Mitigation Grant Program projects (15 percent).

The DRRA defines management costs as indirect costs, direct administrative costs, and any other administrative expenses for a specific project.  These policies will help to simplify the delivery of FEMA’s programs and provides incentives for recipients to practice efficient grants management and complete activities in a timely manner

FEMA worked to develop the interim policies shortly after the law was passed to provide immediate guidance to grant recipients and subrecipients on how they may benefit from the changes to reimbursement for management costs.  FEMA is working through implementation guidance for both interim policies.

Visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-reform-act-2018 for more information and to find a summary of each section of the act, as well as the status on FEMA’s implementation.  In total, the law contains more than 50 provisions that require FEMA policy or regulation changes for full implementation.  To view a summary of all the changes in DRRA, click HERE.


Story Map Highlights Award-Winning CTP: Kentucky Division of Water Resources

Kentucky CTP Story Map

When it comes to mapping Kentucky’s floodplains, the Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW) is a Cooperating Technical Partner (CTP) with FEMA.  The CTP Program is an innovative approach to creating partnerships between FEMA and other agencies that have the interest and capability to become more active participants in the FEMA flood hazard mapping program.  

In 2018, KDOW was awarded 1st place in the CTP Recognition Program.  The Division was recognized by FEMA for excellence in Communications, Outreach and Program Management for integrating different technologies to communicate flood risk, including virtual reality and live polling during meetings, and for embracing a variety of partnerships.  KDOW’s work has been featured in a story map that is an interactive product that uses GIS maps, narrative text, images and video to showcase CTP work.

View the story map at http://arcg.is/1nqua0 to see some of the great things that the Kentucky Risk MAP team had done over the past several years.


Mitigation Matters!  

Have questions, contact us at help@kymitigation.org.

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