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Wednesday
Jun132018

FLOODPLAIN MAPPING – The Basics

What is a floodplain and how do I see a map?

FEMA defines a “Floodplain” as any land area susceptible to flood water inundation from any source. Floodplains shown on FEMA’s FIRMs are called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), which are 1-percent chance Floodplains. The FIRMs determine the flood hazard/risk to your home or business. The areas outside the SFHAs posing a moderate to low flood risk are labeled on FIRMs as Zone “X.” SFHAs posing a high flood risk are labeled on the FIRMs as Zone “A,” “AE,” “AO” or “AH.” SFHAs along the coastal areas posing a high flood risk due to waves are designated on the FIRMs as Zone “VE.” The Study does not include analyses of coastal area flood hazard/risk.  Links to the Study’s 35 FIRMs are provided below, and the Study and Study's FIRMs are also available at the Department of Public Works’ (DPW) Offices in Hilo at 101 Pauahi Street Ste 7. Office hours are weekdays, excluding holidays 7:45 AM -4:30 PM.

How will the new FIRMs affect me under National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?

DPW administers Hawaii County Code (HCC) Chapter 27 Floodplain Management regulations whose purpose is to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare, and minimize public and private losses due to flooding conditions, within SFHAs determine from FIRMs and/or best available flood hazard data. In July 2014 and within the Study’s SFHAs (refer to item 2 above), the County began enforcing Floodplain Management regulatory standards for new structures and existing structures that are substantially improved and/or damaged. Mandatory flood insurance for federally regulated or back mortgages will not be required until FEMA publishes and makes effective the Study’s FIRMs.

My structure is incorrectly mapped, how do I correct this?

After the Study’s FIRMs are published and made effective by FEMA and you disagree with the mapping of your structure, you may apply for a FEMA Letter of Map Change (LOMC). FEMA’s LOMC application process includes, in part, the following: Letter of Determination Review; a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA); electronic LOMA or eLOMA; Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill, whichever is applicable. Information on the LOMC application process is available at FEMA’s webpages: https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-flood-hazard-mapping/letter-map-change, orhttps://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/7362

Wednesday
Jun132018

Floods happen...anywhere, anytime

The intersection of Kamehameha Avenue and Pauahi Street in Hilo is closed during the 2000 flood.

Floods can and do happen in Hawai‘i County - anywhere and at any time. Flooding can be caused by heavy rains, ponding, surface runoff, high seas, hurricane and tropical storm surge, and tsunami inundation.

No district on the island is immune from flooding hazards. While some parts of the island receive more annual rainfall than others, all districts can be susceptible to heavy rains that create runoff—flooding roads, property, homes and businesses.

Floodwaters rush down Hilo's Wailuku River in 2000.The Big Island, being geologically very young, has not developed defined waterways in many areas. Poorly defined waterways often overflow during rainstorms, especially in the South Kohala, North Kona, South Kona, Ka‘u, Puna, North Hilo and South Hilo districts. Even very small streams, gulches, culverts, low-lying ground or dry streambeds that appear harmless in dry weather can flood. And coastal areas of the island are susceptible to high seas and tsunami inundation.

For general geographical descriptions, present flooding and drainage issues, and courses of action for the reduction of the flood and drainage problems in the nine County districts, see "Flooding and Natural Disasters" section 5 of County of Hawai‘i General Plan.

 

 

 

For additional information on floods, flood safety and flood insurance, visit: FEMA, National Flood Insurance Program, American Red Cross.

Wednesday
Jun132018

DRAFT FLOOD STUDIES - WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO THEY AFFECT THE COMMUNITY?

A “draft” flood study is a flood study that is intended for review by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but hasn’t been officially adopted as an “effective” Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).  An effective FIRM is used by insurance companies and lenders to establish rates for flood insurance on properties with federally backed mortgages. 

A draft flood study is used by Hawai‘i County to regulate development, regardless of whether it has been adopted by FEMA.  The following is a list of draft flood studies yet to be formally adopted by FEMA:

The Puna Flood Study covers approximately 282 square miles and extends from Volcano Village through Kea‘au and down to Maku‘u Drive in Hawaiian Paradise Park Subdivision.  It establishes flood zones in an area that has never been mapped, and affects Tax Map Keys 1-6, 1-7, 1-8 and 1-9.  It is not being used to regulate development at this time, However, the County will resume its use for regulating developement on November 16, 2015.   Individual notices were mailed in September to property owners who may be affected by the proposed flood zones.  The maps may be viewed by clicking on the links below:

Draft Puna Flood Study FIRMs (Use the Index Map to locate individual FIRM panel numbers):  

LocationMapIndexMap , 94394496311201135114011411143

1144, 11511152115311541156,11571158115911611162

11631164116611671168116911761180136013801385,

1390139514051410Puna Hydrology and Hydraulic Report

 

 The Waiakea Flood Study in Hilo includes Waiakea Stream and Upper Palai Streams, and extends from the Kupulau Ditch, above Kupulau Road, down to the Puainako extension.  It was submitted to FEMA in March, 2015 and is awaiting adoption.  The draft workmaps can be viewed in the County of Hawaii Department of Public Works Engineering Division office in Hilo at 101 Pauahi St., suite 7, or by clicking on the links below:

Waiakea Stream and Upper Palai Streams Maps: 

map1, map2, map3

 

The Puukapu Flood Study in Waimea affects areas both sides of the Mamalahoa Highway in an approximately 2-mile radius from town.  It is unusual in that it has been approved by FEMA, but not formally adopted.  It will appear on the preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) to be issued August 14, 2015.  From that date onward it can be viewed at http://gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat

 

The North Kona Flood Study, like the Pu‘ukapu Flood Study, has been approved by FEMA, but awaits its addition to the DFIRMs for formal adoption.  The study re-maps the Waiaha and Holualoa Drainageways and adds additional breakout “split-flow” streams to the map.  It will also appear on the preliminary DFIRM August 14, 2015 and can be viewed at:

http://gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat

 

The Keopu-Hienaloli Flood Study in North Kona maps almost 4 miles of these two streams that empty into Kailua Bay.  The study is scheduled to be submitted to FEMA this Fall.  On July 31, 2015 the County began using it to regulate development.  The draft map panels can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

Panel 711   Panel 712  Panel 713  Panel 714

 

The 2nd phase of the South Kona Flood Study is comprised of Water Courses 1 through 12, 21 through 25 and Captain Cook Water Course 1.  This study will appear on the preliminary DFIRM issued on August 14, 2015 and can be viewed at:

http://gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat

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