Flood Hazards in Louisiana

  • Roughly 30% of Louisiana’s land mass lies in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), which we refer to as “the flood zone.”

    • Some of the southern-most parishes are entirely flood-prone.

    • Flood patterns change, and areas not in a designated SFHAs have flooded.

    • The Louisiana coastline is receding, thus increasing the exposure of inland areas to hurricane winds and storm surge.

  • Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are used by insurance agents to rate flood insurance and by parish and local governments in regulating development. Contact your local building or permit office for flood maps for your community, or visit the LSUAgCenter Flood Maps Portal, which shows current, recent and pending FIRMS in an online navigation system.

    • “A” flood zones in Louisiana are typically static or slow-moving floodwater; water may move faster in some areas.

    • “V” zones are more hazardous because they are subject to surge and a 3-foot breaking wave action. “V” zones are typically along the coast and around large lakes.

    • Flood damage prevention ordinances and builder’s codes apply to new construction, repair and remodeling, even for buildings that have never flooded.

    • Homes are required to be protected from a “100-year flood” by building so the lowest floor is at or above that level, called the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).

    • Non-residential buildings can meet flood protection requirements by dry floodproofing -- sealing the walls and openings to keep water out of the building.

  • Protecting homes to a flood level higher than the minimum required BFE is highly recommended.

    • Homes built at BFE have a 1% chance of flooding in any year, or a 26% chance of flooding during the life of a 30-year mortgage. This is roughly five times the normally accepted fire risk.

    • Homes built above BFE qualify for lower flood insurance premiums. The higher above BFE, the lower the owner’s flood insurance cost. Building at least two feet above BFE creates a substantial drop in annual insurance premiums.

  • Protecting homes in levee-protected areas is highly recommended, though not generally required by ordinances.

See this article for more information about flood maps, permits and insurance.

12/29/2006 6:58:49 PM
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