Flood Mapping


FEMA 101: Flood Mapping

Through FEMA’s flood hazard mapping program, Risk MAP, FEMA identifies flood hazards, assesses flood risks and partners with states and communities to provide accurate flood hazard and risk data to guide them to mitigation actions. Flood hazard mapping is an important part of the NFIP, as it is the basis of the NFIP regulations and flood insurance requirements. FEMA maintains and updates data through Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and risk assessments. FIRMs include statistical information such as data for river flow, storm tides, hydrologic/hydraulic analyses and rainfall and topographic surveys.

FEMA uses the best available technical data to create the flood hazard maps that outline your community’s flood risk areas.  Flood maps inform communities about the local flood risk and help set minimum floodplain standards for communities to build safely. They determine the cost of flood insurance, which helps property owners to financially protect themselves against flooding. The lower the degree of risk, the lower the flood insurance premium will be. Flood maps are also the basis for flood insurance rates through the National Flood Insurance Program. By law, some may be required to get flood insurance if they live in the highest risk areas. However, flooding can happen anywhere; about twenty percent of all the flood claims come from areas with lower risk.

The process for developing and updating flood maps allows FEMA to work with communities and property owners at all steps of the process to incorporate the best available data into each community’s flood maps. Flood mapping projects typically take from three to five years to complete. Through the Risk Mapping Assessment Planning (MAP) program, flood maps are developed using the best available science developed by engineering experts. The mapping standards are published, vetted, peer revised and updated continuously to ensure they are up to date with current best practices. Through this collaborative process, a community can review, appeal and contribute to the development of a flood map before it is adopted by the community.

For an overview of all that goes into the flood map development process and the key engagement points with community officials, link to Flood Maps: Know Your Risk and Take Action Against Flooding.


Flood Map Service Center

The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the NFIP. Use the MSC to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.  Use the MSC to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.


Check Your Community’s Preliminary Flood Hazard Data

FEMA has released an authoritative source for Preliminary Flood Hazard Data (preliminary data).  Moving forward, preliminary data will be available to the public in a centralized and easily accessible location, along with FEMA’s other flood mapping products and tools.  As data are released, they will populate in the new preliminary data search tool. You may access this tool through the Preliminary Flood Hazard Data FEMA webpage, or through FEMA’s Map Service Center (MSC) Product Catalog. Preliminary data available include new or revised preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, and FIRM Databases.

This preliminary data search tool provides:

  • Centralized access and simple navigation to nation-wide preliminary flood hazard data
  • Quick and easy search functions
  • Ability to search for data by state and county
  • FEMA Mapping Information eXchange (FMIX) customer service support
  • Accessibility of both preliminary and effective data from the MSC


Change a Flood Zone Designation – Online Letter of Map Change

FEMA’s Online LOMC web application allows anyone to submit a Letter of Map Change (LOMC) request online. This online page is intended for homeowners and other interested parties that wish to submit a LOMC application online instead of the paper form method.  If you believe your property has been inadvertently included in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), you may now request a change over the web, instead of by mail.

Access the Online LOMC application to start a new application or check the status of your submitted application. If you do not wish to submit your request online, you may submit through FEMA’s other processes: eLOMA or through the MT-EZ, MT-1 or MT-2 paper forms submitted through the mail.


Letter of Map Amendment – Out As Shown

Revised 2018

If you, or a citizen in your community, has a federally backed loan for a structure, the lender can require you to carry flood insurance at any time, regardless of which flood zone your home is in.  This can and does occasionally happen.  Often times however, there was either an error with the homes floodplain determination, or the company the bank hired to do the determinations for them were very conservative with their assessments.  In these instances, the property owner can take steps to have FEMA verify their home is outside the floodplain and can request that the flood insurance requirement be waived by their lender. 

Link to an updated set of instructions to assist community members in applying for a LOMA Out As Shown Instructions – KY (LOMA-OAS). 

This LOMA-OAS is a simple process, which only requires filling out a 2-page application and 1-2 additional supporting documents. Pass along these instructions to property owners to help them understand and complete this process.  The instructions also include information on how to submit the LOMA-OAS application, how FEMA will respond, and what they next steps for the property owner are.



Elevation Certificate Information

Link to KAMM’s Elevation Certificate webpage for more information.


Stay Dry: A Basic Application to View FEMA Flood Hazard Information Using Google Earth ™

September 14, 2017

The “Stay Dry” utility allows you to use Google Earth (TM) to view basic flood hazard information from FEMA’s National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) for a community or an address.  You can view flood hazard zones, cross sections and labels, community names and boundaries, Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) numbers and boundaries, and Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) case numbers and boundaries.  To use the application, you must have Google Earth installed on your computer, a high-speed Internet connection, and the Stay Dry kmz file.  The kmz file is available through FEMA’s Map Service Center at http://msc.fema.govLink to the stay_dry_user_guide.pdf.  


Announcing Revised Kentucky Floodplain Administrator’s Handbook

January 11, 2017

The Division of Water announces the publication of a revised Kentucky Floodplain Admin Handbook – Revised 2016 updated to inform floodplain administrators and local officials about the NFIP, permit requirements and provides sample forms.  The Handbook outlines the floodplain management process, floodplain regulations, permit procedures, and flood mapping. 

Local Floodplain Administrators will find the following of specific interest:

  • Introduction & overview of the NFIP program
  • Administration & duties for local floodplain managers
  • Definitions and acronyms
  • Floodplain regulations at the Federal, State, & Local levels
  • Overview of Executive Order 13690, Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, and the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014
  • Overview of flood maps and the Risk MAP Program, including Letters of Map Change (LOMC)
  • Introduction to the Community Rating System (CRS)

The revised Appendix includes:

  • Sample local floodplain application & locally issued permit
  • List of required permits
  • Elevation Certificate & Floodproofing Certificates
  • Floodway ‘No-Rise’ Certification
  • Letter of Map Change forms
  • Links FEMA’s Technical Bulletins 

For more information: contact Alex VanPelt, CFM; NFIP Coordinator, Division of Water, Alex.VanPelt@ky.gov.




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