County readies for flood plain changes, public meeting Aug. 22

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the State of Texas, and local communities and counties, have released preliminary flood maps for public review and comment. 

These preliminary flood maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), are providing updated flood risk information for many areas in Hays County and along the San Marcos River in Caldwell, Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Hays counties.

In Hays County, the flood hazard study includes areas along the Blanco and San Marcos Rivers, and many tributaries as well as Onion Creek, Barton Creek, Bear Creek and their tributaries. Property owners are encouraged to view the maps at http://maps.RiskMAP6.com to see the specific areas being remapped and how they may be affected.  

These new flood maps will show residents and business owners how their flood risks may have changed and help them make more informed decisions about buying flood insurance. Community leaders use these new flood maps to make decisions about future building and development. Everyone is encouraged to know their flood risk.

On Aug. 22, Hays County will host an open house at the Wimberley Community Center for the proposed maps from 2-7 p.m. Attendees will have access to the online, interactive maps during the Open House. They will also have the opportunity to ask representatives from the State, County, City of Dripping Springs, as well as FEMA and their mapping partners, any floodplain and flood insurance questions.

The proposed maps are an update of the existing FIRM, which uses data that is over 30 years old. Since then, drainage patterns have changed, there has been new development, and technology and modeling techniques have greatly improved.

As a result of these map changes, some buildings in Hays County may, for the first time, be included in a high-risk flood zone, known as the Special Flood Hazard Area.

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