Flood Mapping

Knowing your risk enables you to take actions that can reduce that risk

Communities use Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to regulate their identified floodplains as part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

FIRMs are also used by insurance agents to rate flood insurance policies, lenders to determine if flood insurance is required with a federally backed loan, and property owners to understand their risk of being impacted by a flood event.



A floodplain is the area adjacent to streams, creeks, and rivers that provide floodwater storage

What is a Flood Map?

A Flood Map informs your community about the local flood risk. It helps set minimum floodplain standards so that your community builds safely and resiliently. It determines the cost of flood insurance, which helps property owners to financially protect themselves against flooding.  The lower your degree of risk, the lower your flood insurance premium will be. In areas with a high risk of flooding, you might be required to get flood insurance.  



Information related to flood hazard 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. 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

About 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 National Flood Insurance Program (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.

FEMA flood maps are continually updated through a variety of processes. Effective information that you download or print from this site may change or become superseded by new maps over time. For additional information, please see the Flood Hazard Mapping Updates Overview Fact Sheet


FEMA has introduced an update to the online FIRMette Web tool that is now available on the MSC. Directions on how to interact with the new tool and create a FIRMette are available in the How to Find and Make a FIRMette tutorial. If further assistance is required, please contact the FEMA Mapping and Insurance eXchange (FMIX) at FEMA-FMIX@fema.dhs.gov.


How to View and Obtain Flood Maps

The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official online location to find all flood hazard mapping products created under the National Flood Insurance Program, including your community’s flood map.

Using Flood Maps

Flood maps help mortgage lenders determine insurance requirements and help communities develop strategies for reducing their risk. The mapping process helps you and your community understand your flood risk and make more informed decisions about how to reduce or manage your risk.


Mapping Information Platform Users Update

FEMA made an update to the processing of MT-2 cases (Conditional Letters of Map Revision, CLOMRs & Letters of Map Revision, LOMRs) within the state of Kentucky. MT-2 cases received within the state of Kentucky will now be managed by the Kentucky Energy and Environmental Cabinet (KEEC). All MT-2 cases received within the state of Kentucky that are submitted through the Online Letter of Map Change portal will automatically be routed to the KEEC for processing.

Paper forms and fees, including the FEMA Payment Information Form, can be mailed to:

Kentucky Division of Water
300 Sower Blvd
Frankfort KY 40601

ATTN: LOMR Program

For additional information, please email LOMR.KYHelp@ky.gov

Risk MAP IT Help email: FEMA-RiskMAP-ITHelp@fema.dhs.gov 

Risk MAP IT Help website: Risk MAP IT Help page 


Starting on January 1, the Division of Water (DOW) will be a LOMR Review Partner with FEMA. 

The LOMR Review Program delegates select agencies across the country the responsibility of performing the technical review function for Letters of Map Revision (LOMRs) and Conditional Letters of Map Revision (CLOMRs) in their local community on behalf of FEMA.  To date, there are only a few other agencies across the country who have been selected to participate.

This LOMR Review is a great opportunity for Kentucky as it allows us to connect our mapping efforts (Risk MAP updates) with our floodplain management (Permitting).  With LOMR Review, the DOW management team is now able to ensure that permits that require LOMRs upon completion are submitted so that the maps can be updated to reflect the changes that were made.  This in turn will help keep KY floodplain maps up to date as we go along, allowing you as the local floodplain managers to make decisions with the best available maps.  Additionally, this also will allow property owners, developers, and communities to interact with DOW and their mapping partners on LOMRs, rather than with FEMA, helping to ensure that this process is smooth and easy for everyone.

One thing to note with this is that it applies ONLY to LOMRs and CLOMRs.  Other map change requests such as Physical Map Revisions (PMRs), Letters of Map Amendment (LOMAs), and Letters of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-Fs) will continue to be reviewed by FEMA.

Products and Tools

Regulatory Flood Map Products

Learn about regulatory flood map products and access flood maps, Flood Insurance Studies, and FIRM databases.

GIS and Other Products

Manage data with Preliminary Flood Hazard Data, National Flood Hazard Layer, and Hazus.

Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP)

These products provide a more user friendly analysis of flood risks within a Risk MAP project.

Tools to Help Use Products

Guidance and Partners

Guidelines & Standards

View Risk MAP guidelines and standards for flood risk analysis and mapping activities



Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP)

Cooperating Technical Partners are communities, regional agencies, state agencies, universities and tribal nations that become more active participants in the FEMA flood hazard mapping program.

For additional information or assistance, contact a Map Specialist in the FEMA Mapping and Insurance eXchange (FMIX).


Homeowner’s Guide to Map Amendments Released

October 2018

FEMA has created an easy to read and follow guide that helps homeowners understand the process for Letters of Map Amendment (LOMAs) and Letters of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-Fs). LOMA or LOMR-F are processes to gain a better understanding of your home’s flood risk – and potentially lower your flood insurance premium.

This guide was created to increase the number of complete applications by providing clear instructions on who is eligible to apply, what should be included in an application, and what happens after you receive a determination letter.

This guide is intended for homeowners and can serve as a valuable resource to hand out during community meetings, such as Open Houses, as well as for stakeholders who are engaging with the public at other times.

You can download the guide here.

For application materials, visit MT-1 Application Forms and Instructions for Conditional and Final Letters of Map Amendment and Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/31858).


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.


USGS Publishes Bulletin 17C, “Guidelines for Determining Flood Flow Frequency”

April 2, 2018

Accurate estimates of flood frequency and magnitude are a key component of any effective nationwide flood risk management and flood damage abatement program.  In addition to accuracy, methods for estimating flood risk must be uniformly and consistently applied because management of the nation’s water and related land resources is a collaborative effort involving multiple actors, including most levels of government and the private sector.  Bulletin 17C’s Chapter B5 of book 4 (TM 4–B5) deals with flood flow frequency analysis at gaged sites using the Expected Moments Algorithm.  The use of extreme flood data represented by interval and censored data types, including historical, paleoflood and botanical evidence, is emphasized.


Overview Endangered Species Act Compliance for Conditional Letters of Map Change

Endangered Species Act (ESA) Factsheet

May 25, 2016

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 protects threatened and endangered species by preserving the ecosystems in which they live.  The U.S. Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), collectively known as “the Services,” share the responsibility for administering the Act.  The FEMA requires documentation of compliance with the minimum ESA requirements for Conditional Letters of Map Change (CLOMCs).

Link to the ESA Factsheet.


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.gov.

Link to the Stay_Dry_User_Guide.


How to Read a Flood Insurance Rate Map Tutorial

The tutorial includes a section that contains examples of how to get specific information from FIRMs.

How to Find Your FIRM and Make a FIRMette

This tutorial provides instructions on how to find a FIRM for an area of interest and create a printable FIRMette.

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) Tutorial

This tutorial educates users on the use and application of FIRMs produced by FEMA in support of the NFIP. Each component of the FIRM is explored. The tutorial includes a section that contains examples of how to get specific information from FIRMs. (Text Equivalent)


Flood Insurance Study (FIS) Tutorial

This tutorial educates users on the use and application of FIS reports produced by FEMA in support of the NFIP. Each component of the FIS report, including the data tables and Flood Profiles, is explored and explained. (Text Equivalent)






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