What is a Flood Insurance Rate Map?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) publishes flood hazard maps, called Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). The purpose of a FIRM is to show the areas in a community that are subject to flooding and the risk associated with these flood hazards.
Floodplain Map Update
|Learn if your home is impacted by the update by going to the Map Index below. Locate your property and note the map number for that quadrant. Click on the map number below to see the updated FIRM.|
A project to re-map Arlington’s flood zones and update the flood hazard maps has recently been completed. County comments were reviewed by FEMA and the maps have been finalized, with an effective date of August 19, 2013. This flood map modernization project is a joint effort between Arlington County and FEMA. The new maps reflect the best available data on flood risks. That data include:
The updated maps were initially released on September 23, 2009 and become effective on August 19, 2013.
The new maps help promote public safety
Flooding can be a very costly disaster. The risk for flooding can change over time due to erosion, land use, weather events and other factors. The risk for flooding can vary within the same neighborhood and even property to property. As the flooding that occurred in Arlington in June 2006 illustrated, flooding occurs not only in identified high-risk areas, but also in areas that had not been identified as high risk. All properties have some level of vulnerability. Knowing your flood risk is the first step to flood protection.
View Things You Should Know about Flood Insurance brochure
The notice about the floodplain map updated was published in the Federal Register on June 3rd, 2010 and the local newspapers as well. This notifiation was followed by a 90 day public comment period. The public comment period is a time when citizens can submit technical and/or scientific data to file a protest regarding their individual property, or an appeal regarding the accuracy of the mapping process in general.
Arlington County held several public meetings in May, 2010 about the Floodplain map update process. Based on comments received at these meetings, Arlington County filed protests of the flood boundaries on the preliminary map at three separate locations.
As a result of the public meetings, County staff took the following actions:
As the County had indicated during the protest process, this result was not completely unexpected. FEMA suggested that the revision process with more detailed analyses would be the most appropriate vehicle to make future changes to the FIRM in the areas that the County had protested. Therefore, the County is pursuing the revision process to make changes to the FIRM that more accurately reflect flood risk.
After the appeals and protests were reviewed, the flood boundaries along Donaldson Run were adjusted. FEMA issued a Letter of Final Determination on February 19, 2013. Within six months (by August 19, 2013), an ordinance approving the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map will be adopted. The draft ordinance is available here. The maps will then become effective, as will any new flood insurance requirements. However, please be aware that starting immediately these flood hazard maps will be used to help determine requirements for construction and development.
Contact: For more information about the flood map modernization project, you can contact Allan Rowley at 703-228-6542.