GeoCarta Has Moved

Nov 23, 2005

Mississippi Communities Continue To Resist Adhering To New Flood Maps

Last Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued new, Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) maps for three coastal counties in Mississippi. As I posted then, the new maps raised the 100-year flood elevation along the Mississippi Gulf Coast from 3 to 8 feet. The maps will not be, "official" for another 18 months or so. However, FEMA has strongly urged that the new maps be used by local communities in rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

I posted earler on the negative reaction along the coast to the new maps. Many local governments are resisting implementing these higher elevations in regulating rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina. An example of one such community is Gautier, Miss. As reported by the Biloxi Sun Herald and the Mississippi Press, last Tuesday, FEMA and local officials held a meeting there to answer questions and hear comments from citizens affected by the new flood maps. Almost 100 people showed up, many of them urging their local representatives to take their time in adopting the new regulations.

Some residents complained about what they termed FEMA's overeaction to the devastating floods.
The Mississippi Press quoted one resident as telling the city council, "To go from 12 feet to 20 feet seems like a knee-jerk reaction to (Hurricane) Katrina." Others commented that strict adherence to the new flood maps would negatively impact the town's tax base.

In the meantime, the city continues to issue building permits to rebuild using the current 100-year flood heights, leaving those new buildings vulnerable to another 100-year flood.