Revised February 10, 2016
DISCLAIMER: The City of Abilene makes no representation or warranty regarding the accuracy or reliability of these maps. All floodplain determinations should be made by the current effective maps, which are available at FEMA’s website, or in the City of Abilene Engineering Division’s office. For more information, please read the “Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Preliminary Flood Maps” below.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Preliminary Flood Maps
When did the preliminary map become final? Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued a Letter of Final Determination setting the effective date of the new maps for January 6, 2012.
What is a FIRM? Flood Insurance Rate Map. A FIRM shows areas of land that are prone to flooding.
Why does the city have floodplain regulations? The city must regulate development in flood prone areas in order to be accepted in the National Flood Insurance Program. Acceptance in this program is necessary for property owners in the city to obtain flood insurance.
What is a floodplain? A floodplain is the area that may be covered with water during a significant rain event. The rain event used to define a floodplain is that which has a 1% chance of occurrence during any given year. This rain event is also called the “100 year storm”.
What is a floodway? A floodway is an area within the floodplain that must remain open for the flow of floodwaters. Construction in the floodway is generally prohibited.
What is a Base Flood Elevation (BFE)? A BFE is the elevation above sea level to which water will rise during a 100 year storm.
Can I build a new house or structure in a floodplain? Generally yes. However, the finished floor must be elevated higher than the Base Flood Elevation and the structure must not be located in the floodway without special engineering analysis that has been reviewed and approved by the city.
How do I know if my property is in the floodplain? You may review the preliminary FIRM panels in the Public Works office at City Hall, 555 Walnut Street, Abilene TX, 2nd floor, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. You may also click on “View Floodplain Maps Here” or call (325) 676-6313 for further assistance.
I have lived in my house for a long time and it has never flooded, but the maps show my property to be in the floodplain. Are the maps wrong? The maps are developed using statistical rainfall data for the Abilene area along with detailed ground surface information to calculate the rise and spread of floodwaters through the city’s creek system. The maps have been reviewed by city staff and generally reflect what has been observed during actual flood events. However, it is possible that certain properties are shown to be in a mapped floodplain, but may not be at risk due to their actual location or elevation.
How do I request information regarding the FIRM? Questions may be answered by Public Works staff at city hall, or through e-mails submitted through the web link.
How do I request that the map be changed? The appeals and protest period for the preliminary maps ended November 11, 2009. After that date, no further appeals and protests will be accepted by FEMA related to the preliminary maps. Changes to the maps after that date must be by a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), submitted in accordance with FEMA regulations.
Who created the preliminary Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood map for Abilene? The map has been prepared by FEMA.
How was the map prepared? The map was prepared using detailed ground surface elevation and topographic data collected in 2005. The spread and height of floodwater in the city’s creeks were determined using hydraulic engineering methods.
What is the purpose of the newly revised FEMA flood map for Abilene? The purpose of the revised map is to improve the accuracy of information related to floodwater elevation and limits.
How did the City of Abilene assist FEMA in creating the flood map? The city provided funding for the surveying and modeling and provided input regarding actual experience with flood events in Abilene.
What’s difference between this new map and the one currently in use? The current map was created in the early 1980’s using ground surface data and topography at that time. The new map has been created using higher resolution mapping techniques and is based on conditions as they exist currently. Also, the new map will be presented in a digital format as well as in a paper format. The new map should be more accurate in its depiction of flood prone areas.
Am I required to have flood insurance? Most mortgage companies require flood insurance for houses that are in the floodplain. The City of Abilene does not require flood insurance.
Should I buy flood insurance? If your house is in the floodplain according to the FEMA maps, you may be required by your lender to purchase flood insurance. If your house is in the floodplain but you do not have a mortgage, then it is your personal decision whether or not to buy flood insurance. There may be some advantage to purchasing flood insurance before the new maps become effective. Certain properties where the floodplain status has changed may be “grandfathered” and reduced rates may apply for insurance purchased before the new maps become effective. Contact your insurance agent for more information.