From FEMA - the Federal Emergency Management Administration:
Flood zones are geographic areas that the FEMA has defined according to varying Maps. Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area. Please refer to Zone definitions glossary attached.
How often do FEMA maps change?
Every five years. FEMA is required to update flood maps every five years. If a map is not assessed within the five-year window, the level of flood risk is considered “unknown.” FEMA must reassess flood maps regularly because flood risks are not static.
How do flood zones change?
Landscapes change due to building development, weather patterns, surface erosion, spring thaw, wildfires, decay of dams and levees, and other natural forces. These changes can alter floodplain boundaries, water flow and drainage patterns – which can lead to higher or lower risk of flooding for property owners.
How do I remove a property from a FEMA flood zone?
How can I get my property removed from a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)? A property owner can submit documents about the property and an Elevation Certificate in support of a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), which can remove the property or structure from the SFHA.
How do you dispute your flood zone?
If you believe your property was incorrectly identified as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you may submit an application to FEMA for a formal determination of the property's location and/or elevation relative to the SFHA.
NOTE: To try to remove your property from Flood Zone you need all 3 documents:
- LOMR/LOMA application filled out.
- Engineered Survey Plot Plan
- Elevation Certificate
Definitions of FEMA Flood Zone Designations
Flood zones are geographic areas that the FEMA has defined according to varying levels of flood risk. These zones are depicted on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Hazard Boundary Map. Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.
Moderate to Low Risk Areas
A = Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. Because detailed analyses are not performed for such areas; no depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
AE = The base floodplain where base flood elevations are provided. AE Zones are now used on new format FIRMs instead of A1‐A30 Zones.
A1‐30 = These are known as numbered A Zones (e.g., A7 or A14). This is the base floodplain where the FIRM shows a BFE (old format).
AH = Areas with a 1% annual chance of shallow flooding, usually in the form of a pond, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.
AO = River or stream flood hazard areas, and areas with a 1% or greater chance of shallow flooding each year, usually in the form of sheet flow, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. Average flood depths derived from detailed analyses are shown within these zones.
AR = Areas with a temporarily increased flood risk due to the building or restoration of a flood control system (such as a levee or a dam). Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements will apply, but rates will not exceed the rates for unnumbered A zones if the structure is built or restored in compliance with Zone AR floodplain management regulations.
A99 = Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding that will be protected by a Federal flood control system where construction has reached specified legal requirements. No depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
High Risk Coastal Areas:
In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones.
V = Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. No base flood elevations are shown within these zones.
VE, V1 = -30 Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.
Undetermined Risk Areas:
D = Areas with possible but undetermined flood hazards. No flood hazard analysis has been conducted. Flood insurance rates are commensurate with the uncertainty of the flood
FEMA's Guide to Homeowners on Initiating Map Revisions
View the FEMA floodplain maps - Pembroke
Options If You Disagree with the Preliminary Flood Maps
Homeowners, Renters, Community Officials and Other Individuals
You may complete for Letter of Map Change request by sending paper forms by mail, downloadable from FEMA at this link.
Any applicant who would like to submit a Letter of Map Change request directly to FEMA may do so online using at FEMA's Online LOMC site. You can:
- Request an amendment or revision to a flood map
- Upload supporting documentation
- Pay any associated fees
- Check the status of your submitted request
- Review frequently asked questions about Online LOMC
The Online LOMC web application allows homeowners or their designated representatives to easily request a Letter of Map Change (LOMC). Use this site if your property was inadvertently included in a flood zone, or if the addition of fill elevated your property so that it is above the flood zone.
Letter of Map Changes (LOMCs)
A Letter of Map Change (LOMC) is a general term used to refer to the several types of revisions and amendments to FEMA maps that can be accomplished by letter. They include Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), Letter of Map Amendment (LOMR), and Letter of Map Revision based on Fill (LOMR-F). A Letter of Map Change (LOMC) is a letter which reflects an official change to an effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). LOMCS are issued in response to a request of FEMA to revise or amend its effective flood map to remove a property or reflect changed flooding conditions on the effective map.
Due to scale limitations, a preliminary map may inadvertently show a building (or part of it) within a high-risk flood zone (a Special Flood Hazard Area, or SFHA). When the updated maps become effective, property owners may submit mapping and survey information to FEMA to request a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or a Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F). The more precise details you provide may allow FEMA to officially change the building’s flood zone from an SFHA to Zone X, a moderate- to low-risk flood zone.
While this process may also remove the Federal Mandatory Purchase Requirement when they become effective – and your lender may no longer require flood insurance – it does not mean the risk of flooding has been removed; it is only reduced. You are strongly encouraged to continue to carry flood insurance with the lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy.