North Carolina officials will not rely on FEMA to identify high-risk flood zones.
Instead, the state will strive to compile its own data. Officials say FEMA maps have not been updated quickly enough based on recent experience. As proof, they say that more than 77% of homes damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 were not located in federally designated flood zones.
When a home is rebuilt after suffering storm damage, state officials are going beyond a federal block grant program requirement that homes be elevated two feet above FEMA’s base flood elevation. They are using the high-water mark that inspectors find in the home as the point from which the home is raised two feet.
A 2017 report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General found that 58% of flood maps nationwide were either outdated or inaccurate. At least 22 states and hundreds of local communities already require new construction to be elevated higher than federal requirements, according to the Weather Channel.