New maps show Charlotte County over a foot lower, greater flood risks
New flood maps show Charlotte County’s elevation is more than a foot lower than it has been in the past. That means hundreds, if not thousands, more homeowners will have to pay for flood insurance.
An entire strip of US-41 surrounding Charlotte County neighborhoods will be considered part of a flood zone in six months.
Joseph Vasile has called the area home for 28 years. He says, flood zone or no flood zone, the water is going to rise.
“My house to the street collapsed, and it flooded my whole house,” Vasile said. “So I had to take up the tile in the kitchen that all floated.”
FEMA says 20% of all storm-related claims come from people who don’t live in high-risk flood zones.
While he’s got insurance, Vasile is still surprised his entire neighborhood is now in a flood zone
“I didn’t know this area was mentionable,” Vasile said. “It looks like a lot of people are going to be affected by this.”
FEMA’s old flood maps used data from 1929, and the new maps are built on data from 1988. Insurance agent Timothy Polak told us, if FEMA updates them more often, the change in insurance rates would be more drastic.
While properties have not necessarily shifted, FEMA’s new maps still consider the entire county more than a foot lower.
“Basically, bringing up the sea level,” Polak said. “So, effectively, it’s lowering everyone’s house,” said.
Jon Hardin now lives in a flood zone. Thanks to the map change, he hopes his neighbors can get the insurance they now need.
“It’s just a matter of people being able to afford it and knowing that they need it,” Hardin said.