Windsor, NY (WBNG Binghamton) You could soon be living in a flood zone.
The federal government is in the process of redrawing flood maps in Broome County to better protect people and property in the future.
But as Action News Reporter Leigh Dana tells us, some homeowners added as a flood liability could soon be swimming in flood insurance payments.
These maps mark Broome County's preliminary new flood plain lines, which haven't been updated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in more than 30 years.
"And after the flooding of 2006 we really saw how really inaccurate they were. Areas flooded that people had no idea that they were flood prone," said Frank Evangelisti, Broome County's Acting Commissioner of Planning.
In turn, thousands of households in the county have been added as flood risks.
The update is part of a nationwide effort to revise the country's flood hazard maps to reflect the most current flood risks.
Something Ben Martin says he's now shocked to be a part of.
"I bought this house in Spring 2003, I've been through one of the most recent floods that our generation has seen here in Broome County, and this house, this street remained untouched," said Martin.
On the old flood plain, homes like Martin's on Gregory Street had a .2% chance a year of being flooded. Now it's at 1%.
Even though these homes weren't affected by the 2006 flooding, FEMA says they should still opt for flooding insurance.
"Really, the important thing for everyone to remember is they should purchase flood insurance prior to the maps becoming effective so they can be grandfathered in," said Pat Griggs with the National Flood Insurance Program.
But even with a set rate of about $400 in insurance fees a year, Martin says it's too much. "You try to lead a family life and try to cover all your bills and everything else. This is just another $50 a month out of the budget."
Drowning for the cost of flood protection.
Leigh Dana, WBNG TV Action News.
Three more information sessions will be held in Broome County this week.
Tuesday April 20th
5-8 PM at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School Cafeteria
9 Ogden Street
Binghamton, NY 13901
Wednesday April 21st
4 - 8 PM
Union Endicott School District Board Room
910 East Main Street
Endicott, NY 13760
Thursday April 22
Town of Conklin Community Center
942 Conklin Road
Conklin, NY 13748
FEMA says public hearings must also be held before the flood plains are approved.
It expects the changes to take place in about a year.
For help determining whether a property is within the revised floodplain, visit the Broome County GIS website. It also provides useful news and links.