FEMA releases new flood maps for the Omaha area

Editor’s Note: This story is part of “Planning Our Future” – an initiative this year at KETV and all Hearst television stations across the country. Check out a Sunday special at 6 p.m. on KETV for an in-depth look at how these weather changes are affecting the climate. It apparently happened all at once. Roads turning into rivers. Water rushes into businesses. Reports show that the August 2021 floods brought three to five inches of rain in less than an hour for parts of the subway. This storm is a prime example of something that the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District says is becoming increasingly common. “We’re seeing higher intensity rain events over shorter time periods,” Papio-Missouri River NRD General Manager John Winkler said, “So you get these three- or four-inch downpours in a hour instead of maybe days, so we’ve seen a slight increase over the last few years.” After a years-long process, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is releasing this year new flood maps for the metro. The maps model the risk of flooding and the places most at risk. The NRD said parts of the metropolitan area haven’t seen updated maps since the 1980s, so these new maps are important. According to the NRD, the new flood maps take into account past weather events and rainfall amounts, in addition to urbanization and new developments. it has an impact,” Winkler said. According to the NRD, the maps show some improvement areas where they may have built reservoirs, such as south of Lake Flanagan. And there are also cases where at least it didn’t get worse. However, the NRD said there are places where homes and businesses that weren’t in the floodplain before will now be. “Which means for an average house, you know, it could cost $300 to $400 a month in flood insurance, which they didn’t have to buy before,” Winkler said. Papio-Missouri River NRD Deputy General Manager Amanda Grint said there are a few areas that are seeing major change that stand out. “So we have a number of areas that haven’t been mapped before that will be mapped into a floodplain. Saddle Creek is probably the most notable in our area,” she said. Grint said another area seeing change is around 72nd and Pacific streets. KETV NewsWatch 7 asked which seemed to have the most impact on the maps – urbanization or weather changes. Grint said there were definitely bigger increases in areas with a lot of development like Sarpy County, Papillion, Gretna and Elkhorn. But she said that was not all. “It’s probably both equally, to be honest,” Grint said, “As development you see larger runoff volumes, but I think changing weather patterns and updated information on the rainfall also had a pretty decent impact on the new study.” This is all information the City of Omaha is currently reviewing, and it impacts future development in flood-prone areas. “They would be required to obtain a permit and demonstrate that all structures – new structures being built, old structures being upgraded – would comply with these regulations in terms of elevation or waterproofing,” said Robert Laroco, Omaha City. floodplain manager. The maps are considered preliminary at this stage, and people will have the opportunity to appeal any changes. BDNI said property owners should be notified if there is a change in the floodplain on their property. Public meetings will be held in June. However, the city said it’s important to remember that even if you haven’t seen significant flood damage in the past, these maps reflect future risk. “We’ve had two or three major floods in the last 10 to 12 years. So, you know, we don’t think the impacts of flooding are going to go away anytime soon,” said Eric Englund, deputy director of urban planning. . “The impacts of climate on the city are becoming more and more noticeable,” Laroco said. This is exactly why the NRD thinks these maps are so important and would like to see more frequent updates. “This is data that needs to be released. Just for the protection of the community,” Winkler said. All of this is aimed at helping metro people prepare and helping entities like BDNI plan flood prevention projects for the future. “I think these just show a good picture of the work that still needs to be done,” Grint said. A number of local communities, including Omaha, participate in a program through FEMA called the Community Rating System. This means cities can adopt higher standards of floodplain management and, in turn, community members get a discount on flood insurance. You can find more information here.

Editor’s Note: This story is part of “Planning Our Future” – an initiative this year at KETV and all Hearst television stations across the country. Check out a Sunday special at 6 p.m. on KETV for an in-depth look at how these changing weather patterns are affecting the climate.

It seemed to happen all of a sudden. Roads turning into rivers. Water rushes into businesses.

Reports show that the August 2021 floods brought three to five inches of rain in less than an hour for parts of the subway.

This storm is a prime example of something that the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District says is becoming increasingly common.

“We’re seeing higher intensity rain events over shorter time periods,” Papio-Missouri River NRD General Manager John Winkler said, “So you get these three- or four-inch downpours in a hour instead of spread out over maybe several days, so we’ve noticed a slight increase over the last few years.”

After a years-long process, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is releasing new flood maps for the subway this year.

The maps model the risk of flooding and the places most at risk. The NRD said parts of the metropolitan area haven’t seen updated maps since the 1980s, so these new maps are important.

According to the NRD, the new flood maps take into account past weather events and rainfall amounts, in addition to urbanization and new developments.

“As Omaha continues to grow, you get more roofs, more concrete, obviously you get more runoff and so that has an impact,” Winkler said.

According to the NRD, the maps show some improvement areas where they may have built reservoirs, such as south of Lake Flanagan. And there are also cases where at least it didn’t get worse.

However, the NRD said there are places where homes and businesses that weren’t in the floodplain before will now be.

“Which means for an average home, you know, it could cost $300 to $400 a month in flood insurance, which they didn’t have to buy before,” Winkler said.

Papio-Missouri River NRD Deputy General Manager Amanda Grint said there are a few areas that are seeing major change that stand out.

“So we have a number of areas that haven’t been mapped before that will be mapped into a floodplain. Saddle Creek is probably the most notable in our area,” she said.

Grint said another area seeing change is around 72nd and Pacific streets.

KETV NewsWatch 7 asked which seemed to have the most impact on the maps – urbanization or weather changes.

Grint said there were definitely bigger increases in areas with a lot of development like Sarpy County, Papillion, Gretna and Elkhorn. But she said that was not all.

“It’s probably both equally, to be honest,” Grint said, “As development you see larger runoff volumes, but I think changing weather patterns and updated information on the rainfall also had a pretty decent impact on the new study.”

This is all information the City of Omaha is reviewing right now, and it impacts future development in flood-prone areas.

“They would be required to obtain a permit and demonstrate that all structures – new structures being built, old structures being upgraded – would comply with these regulations in terms of elevation or waterproofing,” said Robert Laroco, Omaha City. floodplain manager.

The maps are considered preliminary at this stage, and people will have the opportunity to appeal any changes.

BDNI said property owners should be notified if there is a change in the floodplain on their property. Public meetings will be held in June.

However, the city said it’s important to remember that even if you haven’t seen significant flood damage in the past, these maps reflect future risk.

“We’ve had two or three major floods in the last 10 to 12 years. So, you know, we don’t think the impacts of flooding are going to go away anytime soon,” said Eric Englund, deputy director of urban planning. .

“The impacts of climate on the city are becoming more and more noticeable,” Laroco said.

This is exactly why the NRD thinks these maps are so important and would like to see more frequent updates.

“This is data that needs to be released. Just for the protection of the community,” Winkler said.

All of this is aimed at helping metro people prepare and helping entities like BDNI plan flood prevention projects for the future.

“I think these just show a good picture of the work that still needs to be done,” Grint said.

A number of local communities, including Omaha, participate in a program through FEMA called the Community Rating System. This means cities can adopt higher standards of floodplain management and, in turn, community members get a discount on flood insurance. You can find more information here.

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