Jan 19, 2011 7:51 PM by Carolyn Cerda
New flood maps for Vermilion Parish are now in effect. But, who do they affect? And, how? FEMA put the new flood hazard maps, known as Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps or "DFIRMS," into effect on Wednesday.
"People that were not in the flood zones... they have put them in the flood zones now," said Linda Duhon, with the Vermilion Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
Duhon says the changes affect those who were once in "X" or "preferred" Zones. These residents were less likely to get flooded, but with the new flood maps, their now at a higher risk. That also means these home owners may now be required to buy flood insurance.
"If you're in a flood zone and you weren't in a flood zone before, you need to go to an insurance company," said Duhon. "They can tell you what insurance you need to get."
"Before it (the new flood maps), we just would have recommended flood insurance," said Shane Sellers, an insurance agent in Abbeville. "Now it's a requirement."
Sellers says residents had the opportunity to save on flood insurance had they purchased it before the new flood maps came out. He also says the rates are determined by FEMA and only vary by "standard" zones, those that are at risk of flooding.
Meantime, officials are chalking up the shift in flood zones to recent hurricans, such as Rita and Ike.
"The storms with all the erosion... now it's going to easily reach higher points," said Sellers. "Now it's not it can happen, maybe it can happen, now they know it has and it can."
"It looks like it crept further to the north," said Duhon. "They're telling them to get out of harms way if not they should elevate their homes."
To find out if you're home is now in a high risk flood zone, call (337) 898-4300 or visit www.lamappingproject.com.