Study Finds Flaws In FEMA Floodplain Maps

Study Finds Flaws In FEMA Floodplain Maps

LA PORTE, TX — How accurate are the floodplain maps that were created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency?

Not very accurate at all, according to a recent study conducted by two Houston area universities earlier this year. (Want to get daily news updates and other events going on in your area? Sign up for the free Pasadena Patch morning newsletter.)

In fact, the study which was published by researchers at Texas A&M University at Galveston and Houston’s Rice University in the Natural Hazards Review in August, suggests that 75 percent of the damages incurred between 1999 and 2009 happened outside FEMA’s 100 year floodplain.

The study focused on the Armand Bayou watershed in southeast Houston, which also includes areas of Pasadena, Deer Park, Taylor Lake Village and La Porte.

Over than 10 year span, the southeast Houston region has experienced flooding from four tropical systems, including Hurricane Harvey, and two major storm events in 2006 and in 2009

Russell Blessing, a researcher from Texas A&M-Galveston and lead author of the report, said much of the flooding outside the 100-year floodplain maps is related to development, KTRK reported.

The study also indicated that the map fails to take into account areas perpendicular to the channel that are particularly low lying areas, the Houston Business Journal reported.

FEMA officials are engaged in recovery efforts in Texas with Hurricane Harvey and in Florida with Hurricane Irma, and have not examined the data, officials said.

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Image: Associated Press: Portions of Humble, Texas are overcome by flooding fro the San Jacinto River during Hurricane Harvey.

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Originally published September 12, 2017.

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