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Cape Coral ranks No. 1 in the nation for most properties at substantial risk of flooding

Many in SWFL are aware of the weather patterns and most know we’re at risk for flooding. “When we first moved here we had to have flood insurance,” said June Taylor, a homeowner of 23 years from Cape Coral.

However, people may not know that Cape Coral ranks highest in the country for the number of properties with a substantial risk for flooding, and top on the state for any risk. The study shows 111,000 properties are currently at risk, which is 86% of the total number of properties.

By 2050, they predict that number will increase to 97%.

These numbers were researched by First Street Foundation, a nonprofit organization that examines flood risk. But these numbers are at odds with those released by FEMA earlier this week.

Taylor says her home was in a flood zone – until recently.

“They came through and they replanned it, rezoned it, and then we didn’t have to have it anymore,” she said.

She said she is excited about the money she’s saving. “Wonderful because we didn’t have to pay for the insurance. it was very high, very expensive,” Taylor said.

MORE: The First National Flood Risk Assessment

The problem with this is that many people may be unidentified in FEMA’s numbers, leaving them without proper insurance and awareness in a worst-case scenario.

David Wilcox, owner of Wilcox Family Insurance said, “FEMA claims that there’s 27 percent of everybody flooded nationwide on a yearly basis happen to be in B flood zones or flood zones that are not considered flood zones or necessary flood zones for loan purposes.”

So essentially, people not identified in major flood areas could still experience flooding but aren’t required to get flood insurance.

And Wilcox adds that while the premium isn’t extremely expensive, “a lot of people, if they don’t have to carry it they, don’t want to carry it.”

“We are in a tidal river, coastal community in a hurricane-prone region of the world. I believe everybody should have flood insurance,” he said.

And Taylor admits that if she was rezoned again, she’d definitely get flood insurance. “If my insurance company came to me and said it’s been rezoned, you need insurance then I’d say OK then I would have to get it.”

https://assets.firststreet.org/uploads/2020/06/first_street_foundation__first_national_flood_risk_assessment.pdf

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Writer:Drew Hill
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