Linn County residents get better idea of 100 year flood risk

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LINN COUNTY, Iowa — Residents and city leaders in Linn County got a better idea about the risk of future flooding in their area as the Iowa DNR held public meetings about it’s new Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

Ever since the 2008 floods, the Iowa DNR has been tasked with collecting data and creating flood insurance rate maps along with the Iowa Flood Center. Now, they’re getting ready to roll out new ones. Although it’s not a quick process. At this time, they’re holding public meetings, looking for input from city leaders and homeowners.

Today, the DNR held two meetings at the Cedar Rapids City Services building, informing the public and city leaders about how risk has changed in areas since the 2010 maps.

Chris Kahle, the DNR G.I.S. Lead on the project and Jason Conn, a DNR N.F.I.P. Specialist were presenting the information today.

“No longer is it am I in or out of the flood plain, it’s how deep is the water? Is the water 2 inches deep or two feet deep? You know that’s a big difference for emergency responders,” said Kahle during the presentation.

During a 2 p.m. meeting, Linn County leaders gathered to learn about how their flood risk has changed as the Iowa DOT prepares to publish the new maps that predict what areas will be hit the hardest by a 100 and 500-year flood event.

“Both meetings this afternoon and this evening are to present and discuss the changes from the 2010 maps and compare and contrast those and talk about the risk. Whether it’s an increase in risk or decrease in risk and what that risk means in terms of flood insurance requirements,” said Conn.

The new maps which will go into effect in February 2021 can be compared against the 2010 maps and have more data. The biggest change? 462 homes will be removed from the 100-year plan, while 55 homes or businesses will be added.

“If they do have a loan on that structure then they will get a letter from their lending institution notifying them that flood insurance would be a requirement for that federally insured loan. So those are the individuals that we really want to reach out to,” said Conn.

Flood control projects are going up all throughout Cedar Rapids. Once completed they should reduce the risk for some residents. In turn that should lower flood insurance premiums.

“We’re looking at putting in some permanent walls to the height of the 100-year flood and then we’ll do removable above that. So we won’t block the view of the river but we’ll get the permanent walls just high enough to help with that flood plain mapping situation,” said Cedar Rapids Flood Control Program Manager, Rob Davis.

Any of the 462 home or business owners getting taken off the map may not want to get rid of their flood insurance altogether. Those property owners may still be in a flood hazard zone but they may be able to change the type of coverage they have.

The 2010 maps are online through FEMA. The site allows users to enter specific addresses to view their specific risk assessment. Simply enter your address and hit execute. This will give you an idea of your risk and should also include preliminary findings that will be released in the new maps.

Ashley Neighbor

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids
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