Open house on flood maps is Wednesday at Coliseum

FEMA, MEMA and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality will host an open house on Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m. at the Coast Coliseum, where property owners can learn more about the new preliminary flood maps, known as the Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or DFIRMs.

The gathering, along with a similar meeting in Hancock County today and another in Jackson County Thursday, will kick off the official public comment period before the maps become public policy. (For background on the map adoption process, click here.)

Those attending the open house will see paper or digital versions of the preliminary flood maps. Information tables will be available where federal, state and local staff will answer questions on flood insurance, engineering and building permits. At other stations, attendees can pick up a variety of printed information.

Officials expect a large turnout for the meetings, with the heaviest traffic toward the end of each event. Early arrival is suggested.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality produced the maps in a collaborative effort that began before Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as part of a nationwide initiative to modernize maps so that flood risks could be more accurately identified.

Today’s open house in Hancock County will be at Our Lady of the Gulf Parish Community Center, 228 S. Beach Blvd., Bay St. Louis; and Thursday’s will be at the Jackson County Civic Center, 2902 Short Cut Rd., Pascagoula. Both also are from noon to 8 p.m.

Want more info?

Info via phone: Residents can also ask questions about the flood maps by calling 1-866-816-2804 Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Info online: The city’s web site contains a host of information about the mapping process. To visit the flood-mapping area of the site, click here.