Do I Need to Worry About Flooding at My House in Grand Rapids?
Flooding at my house? Not a chance, right? Okay, maybe a sewer problem or something, but nothing else? Ha! What about a weather event with a major rainstorm, snowmelt, etc? What then, and how can I plan for it?
It's been a very long time, four decades in time, that FEMA has updated flood zone maps, but, with the help of new technology, that is about to change here in Grand Rapids and West Michigan. A lot of people may be in for a shock including those who live in the City of Grand Rapids.
The old maps were made back in 1982, paper maps, PDF scans, and the like, so getting it exactly right was a real challenge. But not now.
Digitalization has made a difference, as FEMA told Fox17. Now the new maps can more accurately indicate what we know as our normal flood areas, especially along the Grand River, but also identify spots that would fall in the 100-year flood event, a 1% chance event in any given year. Remember 2013 in downtown Grand Rapids?!?
By the way, the city has made over $5 million in improvements since that 2013 flood event, and that was tested in 2018, with another pretty major flooding event, and it worked very well.
Even though the maps are online now, it's a difficult process navigating the site, so it's a much better idea to wait until February 23rd when the maps go live on the FEMA website.
So, in a nutshell, what does this mean to you and me? For one, if the city agrees to the new measures and is in the National Flood Insurance Program, it will mean cheaper rates for all in the flood zones. It seems to me that is a big win for all of us.