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Flood map is changing

April 22, 2012
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The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood insurance rate maps are being updated, and will be effective beginning in July. The maps are now available for viewing in the building inspector’s office. The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission also has prepared a document comparing the old and new maps, which can also be viewed at Town Hall. According to Ed Howlett of Newburyport-based Chase and Lunt Insurance, when the maps change, more areas are often shifted into high-hazard flood zones. The V zone, or coastal zone, is the highest-risk flood zone. Homeowners in that zone who have a federally backed mortgage are required to have flood insurance. The A zone is another high-hazard area that is subject to rising fresh or salt water. Since standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, many homeowners in hazard areas receive insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, which was created by Congress in 1968. Howlett advised that any homeowners with property near any body of water follow the developments of the remapping. The state Department of Conservation and Recreation Flood Hazard Management Program will hold an open house at 8 p.m. on May 8 at Newburyport City Hall, which will include a review of the new flood maps for all of Essex County. - Taryn Plumb

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