FEMA approves new flood maps for Tybee Island

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – For the first time in a decade, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved new flood maps for Tybee Island.

At the end of February, FEMA approved the changes to the maps.

According to Tybee Assistant City Manager, George Shaw, the updates were made possible through extensive and updated research, improvements made through dune restoration and, historically, the island not having significant flooding. Shaw said the considerations for the new maps were made even after the damage created by Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Irma.

New for this set of mappings is the changing of the “V-Zone” which measures flooding based on the velocity or speed of wind, not because of natural tidal surf. Shaw says most homes along the shore in the current V-Zone will be removed. Some homes, he says, will be removed from the flood zone altogether, though he says people should still keep their flood insurance because of the natural topography of living on a barrier island that can be crippled by any particular hurricane or massive weather event.

Shaw says nearly every one of the 3,000 residents on the island will be affected in some way by the new flood maps, especially when it comes as a financial burden being lifted for flood insurance. Some residents, he says, can expect to see dramatic decreases in their annual bill that can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars. These changes can be expected, for many, though the lessening of expected flood levels. Even a few feet’s difference, Shaw says, can save customers in the long-run.

Currently the city is working to create a PDF format of the maps to post on its website. For the time being, Shaw recommends people come to City Hall during business hours to see the new changes in person. He also asks that people consult with their insurance agent to discuss the updates to the map and what specifically it could mean for their converge and savings.

The new flood maps are expected to go into effect August 16, 2018.




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