Why are the flood maps in Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties being revised?

Since the Federal Emergency Management Agency completed a riverine and coastal flood hazard analysis for these areas in 2009, there have been a multitude of changes to the coastal landscape. In addition, there have been substantial technological advances in the development of numerical models and mapping, along with newer and more accurate sources of data. To provide stakeholders in Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties with the most accurate and complete understanding of their flood risk, this study will revise the current maps.

Who is revising the flood maps?

Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District (SMPDD) is working with Michael Baker International, Inc. in partnership with Arcadis to perform updated coastal flood analysis and mapping for Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties. This updated analysis will ensure that these counties have maps which reflect the current flood risk based on modern ground elevation data, updated modeling, and inclusion of local resilient features. While borne from a grassroots effort within the communities themselves, and locally supported, this effort will be fully compliant with FEMA’s guidelines and standards. The entire study process will be closely coordinated with FEMA Region IV to ensure that the resultant mapping can be smoothly incorporated into the National Flood Hazard Layer.

How will this study affect me? Will my flood zone change?

It is too early in the study process to say exactly how, or if, flood zones will change for individual homeowners. But, there are numerous opportunities for you to stay informed as the project progresses. Visit the Community Involvement page for opportunities to get involved.

How is this study different from the one completed by FEMA in 2009?

This study will follow all of the standards and guidelines required by FEMA’s floodplain mapping program but it will incorporate new, more accurate data sources and refined modeling approaches.

When will the revised maps be available?

We anticipate maps will be available in 2021. Visit the Project Timeline page to stay up to date on the project’s progress.

How can a flood map be used?

Flood hazard maps have a variety of uses. Community planners and local officials can use the revised flood maps to get a better understanding of the flood risks affecting their communities and can subsequently improve local planning activities. Builders and developers can use more detailed flood risk information to inform decisions about where and how to build. Homeowners, business owners, and renters can use flood maps to inform decisions about protecting their properties.

How can I protect my family, my home, or my business from flooding?

To protect your loved ones and property from the effects of flooding you first need to know your risk. For floods, and other emergencies, you should have a communication plan and have an emergency kit prepared at all times. This website has many useful resources about preparing for flood and other disasters. Finally, a flood insurance policy can protect your assets from the financial impacts of flooding. Visit FloodSmart.gov to learn more.