Flood mapping of Lake area to start this summer




As a result of a meeting between FEMA Region VII staff, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, and officials from Camden County that took place in February 2014, FEMA staff greenlighted a reassessment of the Lake of the Ozarks to determine if information had changed since the previous Flood Insurance Study (FIS).

That could warrant a revision or new FIS to be undertaken.

"Upon completion of the reassessment, FEMA did determine that additional years of gauge records and updated flood flows in the upper reaches of the tributaries of the Lake of the Ozarks indicate a need to perform a revised FIS to potentially incorporate revised flood shows for some tributaries to the Lake," FEMA spokesman Michael Cappannari confirmed via email.

The upper reaches of these tributaries, which will be subject to revision are independent of the water levels of the main body of the Lake controlled by the operations of the dams, Cappannari explained.

"The flooding we have seen in recent weeks has not had an impact in terms of this decision to move forward with a new FIS," Cappannari wrote. "We plan to commence the new FIS later this summer and that would take approximately 2.5 years to complete."

Buildings with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders in areas designated as high risk - an annual flood hazard risk of 1 percent - are required to have flood insurance. For structures in moderate to low risk areas, insurance is recommended but not required.

As of August 2014 and since the new Flood Rate Insurance Maps (FIRMs) was adopted in June 2011, Camden County has had a total of 1,250 Letters of Map Amendments (LOMAs), according to FEMA's Map Service Center, while Morgan County has had a total of 302 and Miller 52. At the time, Camden County was described as highly active, but not unusual.

A flood zone overlay can be viewed on the Camden County GIS digital map to give owners an idea of where their waterfront structure lies in relation to the flood hazard area, but the FIRMs lack the level of elevation detail for situations that are close. A flood certificate survey showing where the building is located vertically is required for a LOMA toget structures out of the hazard zone requiring flood insurance.

A comparison of the FIRMs on Camden County GIS with the LOMAs issued by FEMA shows that there are structures which appear to be in the flood hazard zone which have been issued LOMAs.

LIDAR is a laser light technology that measures distance and is utilized to produce high resolution maps.

Utilizing LIDAR technology would have a greater impact on mapping gently sloping areas than on steep hillsides. So while it might effect some areas on the lake-area FIRMs, the extent of changes with LIDAR is uncertain.

 At the meeting in February 2014, there was some discussion about local participation in helping to fund LIDAR mapping to improve the accuracy of the FIRMs.

We will update this story as the reassessment continues.