Most Recent Reports
SWFWMD Watershed Management Program
Information for Homeowners
Information for Realtors
Information for Builders
Hurricane Evacuation Zones
Public Comment Period
Flood Risk Appeals
Fact Sheets and Applications
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
About Hernando County's New Flood Hazard Maps
1. Why is Hernando County
getting new flood hazard maps?
Flood hazard maps, also known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), are
important tools in the effort to protect lives and properties in Hernando
County. They indicate the risk for flooding throughout the County and Cities.
However, the current maps are out of date. Some formerly rural areas were never
mapped in detail, and other areas haven’t been re-mapped in more than 30 years. Over time, water flow and drainage patterns have changed
dramatically due to surface erosion, land use and natural forces. The likelihood
of inland, riverine and coastal flooding in certain areas has changed along with
New digital mapping techniques will provide more detailed, reliable and current
data on County and City flood hazards. The result: a better picture of the
areas most likely to be impacted by flooding and a better foundation from which
to make key decisions.
2. Who is responsible for modernizing the maps?
Currently, there is a nationwide collaborative effort across all levels of
government to update the nation's flood hazard data and provide it in a
detailed, digital format, in accordance with a multi-year plan created by the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The effort evolved as a growing
number of industries were impacted by out-of-date flood data.
Hernando County's map modernization project is a joint effort with FEMA in
cooperation with SWFWMD, Hernando County, the City of Brooksville and private sector partners.
3. What is a Flood Hazard Map?
Flood hazard maps, also called “Flood Insurance Rate Maps” or “FIRMs” are used
to determine the flood risk to your home or business. The low- and moderate-risk
zones are represented on the maps by the letter “X” or an “X” that is shaded.
The inland high-risk zones will be labeled with designations such as “A”, “AE”,
“AO” or “AH”, and coastal high-risk zones that have additional risk from storm
surge will be labeled “V” or “VE”.
4. What are the benefits of the new flood hazard maps?
The Map Modernization project will benefit numerous groups of people in
§ Community planners and local officials will gain a greater understanding of
the flood hazards and risks that affect Hernando County and can therefore
improve local planning activities.
§ Builders and developers will have access to more detailed information for
making decisions on where to build and how construction can affect local flood
§ Insurance agents, insurance companies, and lending institutions will have easy
on-line access to updates and upcoming changes in order to serve their customers
and community more efficiently.
§ Home and business owners will have the ability to make better financial
decisions about protecting their properties.
5. What is a floodplain and how do I determine if my property is located in
A floodplain is the part of the land where water collects, pools, and flows
during the course of natural events. Such areas are classified as Special Flood
Hazard Areas (SFHA), and are located in a 100-year flood zone. The term
"100-year flood" is a little confusing. It is the flood elevation that has a 1-
percent chance of being equaled or exceeded each year; it is not the flood that
will occur once every 100 years. The likelihood of a flood occurring within a
100-year stretch of time is very, very high, but there’s no way to predict when
the next flood will occur – or the one after that. The redrawn maps indicate the
floodplain as a “high-risk” area, officially classified as an AE, AO or A zone. Low- and moderate-risk areas will be
designated as X zones and shaded X zones on the new maps.
The new maps are being made available for public view and review and are also
available on the Internet. Visit the
Viewer to see the new maps. and this site for more
6. How will the new flood hazard maps affect me?
Neighborhoods across Hernando County will be affected differently by these map
changes. There will be some properties that aren’t affected – their risk remains
the same. Other properties will now be mapped into a higher-risk area and/or
show a new Base Flood Elevation*. Some properties will be mapped into a
lower-risk area than before. Altogether, more than 24,772 properties will
show some change. 3,125 properties will remain within the Special Flood
Hazard Area, but the flood elevation may have been revised, changing the impact
to the site.
7. What will happen if I move from a low- or moderate-risk area to a
If the new maps—once adopted—indicate the building on your property is now at a
higher risk for flooding, you will be required to purchase a flood policy if you
carry a mortgage from a federally regulated lender. If you do not have a
mortgage, it is still recommended that you purchase flood insurance. Over the
life of a 30-year loan, there is about a 3 times greater chance of having a
flood in your home than having a fire*. And most homeowners insurance policies
do not provide coverage for damage due to flooding.
If your building is redrawn into a high-risk area, there are lower-cost options
available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) “grandfathering”
8. What will happen if I move from a high-risk to a low- or moderate-risk
When a building moves to a low- or moderate-risk area, there is no longer a
federally mandated requirement to purchase flood insurance. However, the risk
has only been reduced, not removed. Flood insurance is still recommended.
Upon the adoption of the new maps, you may be eligible for a lower-cost
Preferred-Risk Policy (PRP). Through your insurance agent, it is simple to
submit a PRP application and insured-signed conversion form to avoid any gaps in
your flood coverage.
9. How might the new flood maps affect me financially?
When new maps are officially adopted, if your structure is mapped into a
high-risk area and you have a mortgage with a federally-regulated lender, you
will need to purchase flood insurance. If your property is mapped into a low-or
moderate-risk area, you are not required to purchase or maintain insurance, but
are strongly encouraged to do so. The cost of properly protecting your home and
contents from flood damage is far less expensive than the cost to repair or
replace it after a flood has occurred.
Through the National Flood Insurance Program, coverage can often be obtained at
significant savings. The average cost for a flood insurance policy is around
$500 per year. Further, homeowners may qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy that
covers both a structure and its contents for as little as $112 per year.
Coverage for renters starts at just $39 a year. Talk to your insurance agent to
determine the appropriate level of protection you need and the money savings
options that are available.
10. What is the Grandfathering Rule and how can it help me?
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has “grandfathering” rules to
recognize policyholders who have built in compliance with the flood map in place
at the time of construction or who maintain continuous coverage. These rules
allow such policyholders to benefit in the premium rating for their building.
However, property owners should always use the new map if it will provide you
with a more favorable premium.
Renewal of An Existing Policy
When determining the premium you will pay for flood insurance, an insurance
agent will rate your flood insurance policy based on the flood map that is in
effect on the date you purchase your policy. Flood insurance policies may then
be renewed and still be rated based on the flood map in effect when the policy
was initially rated as long as the flood insurance coverage is continuous and
the building has not been altered in a manner that would remove this benefit.
For example, if the building on the property is now in an X zone, you could
purchase the policy before the flood maps are adopted and keep the lower rate
associated with the X zone even after the new flood maps become effective. You
may even qualify for the lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy for the first year,
which provides both building and contents coverage at significant savings. To
help maintain this grandfathering benefit for the next owner, you may transfer
the policy to them at the time of sale.
Built in Compliance
The NFIP will honor a Grandfather rule for buildings constructed after the first
flood map for the community became effective if:
1) the building was built in compliance with the flood map in effect at the time
of construction; and
2) if the building has not been substantially damaged or altered.
Under this Grandfather rule, the property owner must provide proper
documentation to the insurance company.
· If you wish to keep the zone designation in effect when the structure was
built, you must provide a copy of the flood map effective at the time of
construction showing where the structure is located or present a letter from a
community official verifying this information.
· In general, for buildings constructed in high-risk zones after the community’s
first flood map was adopted, your rates are based upon the difference between
the flood map’s Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and your building’s elevation. If
there is a change in the BFE and keeping the BFE that existed when the structure
was first built gives you a better rate, you must provide the agent with an
elevation certificate and a copy of the flood map effective at the time of
construction. A letter from a community official verifying this information is
11. What if my home or business is mapped into a high-risk area but I believe
the designation is in error?
Flood map designations are always based on the best data available to engineers
and local officials at the time areas within a community are surveyed and
assessed. Every effort is made to ensure that the maps reflect the most accurate
and reliable information about the flood risk for all properties. However,
re-examining and updating flood hazard information for an entire community is
often a multi-year process, and you may feel that you have more accurate data
about your property when new maps are eventually completed and released to the
As a mechanism to ensure that residents’ questions or concerns about the new map
designations are addressed, a 90-day “Public Comment Period” is in place. During
this period, citizens will have the opportunity to submit technical and/or
scientific data to support a claim that their property has been improperly
placed in a high-risk area. If you have better information, such as an elevation
certificate, topographic map or detailed hydraulic or hydrologic data, then you
may be able to protest or appeal the flood risk indicated by the new maps.
12. When do the new maps become effective?
The maps officially released to county officials in July, and the public
in August 2010,are
still preliminary. The process that leads to final adoption can last as long as
Initial release is followed by a short review period by community officials.
Then there is a 90-day “Appeal and Protest" period, starting on December 3, 2010
and continuing until March 2, 2011.The final review and adoption
process is expected to begin late in 2010 and the date of adoption is
approximated for Fall 2011. Once the maps are adopted, new
flood insurance requirements will become effective.
13. How can I learn more about the flood map modernization process and how it
could affect me?
The following is a list of resources and contact information if you have further
questions regarding the Hernando County map modernization project:
Web site Resources:
§ Hernando County Web site:
§ FEMA Web site on Mapping: www.fema.gov//plan/prevent/fhm
§ For general information about flood insurance:
§ Hernando County Flood Information Line: (352)
Open Monday-Friday 9 am to 4 pm
§ FEMA Map Assistance Center 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627)
Open Monday-Friday, 8am-6:30pm
§ To purchase flood hazard maps for a nominal fee: 1-800-358-9616
§ For questions on flood policy coverage and rates: 1-800-427-4661
§ Public Meetings: For the latest dates and locations, call the Hernando County
Call Center: 352-540-6300 or visit
Structure damaged by
flooding in 2004 (Click image for larger version)