In the last Around the House, I discussed the impact of the new floodplain maps from FEMA and the changes in the National Flood Insurance program which could have dramatic impacts on Florida after Hurricane Ian. A few weeks later Hurricane Nicole has created major impacts on Florida’s east coast including significant beach and coastal erosion along with flooding in and around the rivers. These two hurricanes will have a lasting negative impact on Florida property owners and the insurance markets.
Last fall 2022, the National Flood Insurance Program implemented a Risk Rating 2.0 which shifted the burden to the homeowners in established floodplains. Additionally, there have been significant updates to FEMA flood maps. Under the new 50 percent rule as mandated by the National Flood Insurance Program, a structure that is damaged by more than 50 percent of its value due to flooding will have to be updated to full compliance of the current flood and building regulations for that floodplain. If Florida residents would like to see how these changes will affect them in the future, they need look no further than my old hometown of Pascagoula, Mississippi.
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded and devastated the coastal cities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast as well as parts of New Orleans. In Pascagoula, the city had a hurricane surge that was 12 to 16 feet along the beach and much of the city had a 4-foot plus surge. Since 2005, the high cost of flood insurance, bad memories of Hurricane Katrina, and a financial collapse in 2008 has hampered rebuilding and the real estate market has never fully recovered. Over the last few years, the real estate markets on the Gulf Coast have shown encouraging signs, but the new FEMA flood maps and new 50 percent rule has been a gut punch for the area.
Pascagoula leaders have formed a group called SOS Pascagoula which is being used to educate residents and to provide a catalyst to change these new rules and maps. The group understands that under these new rules and guidelines, property along the Mississippi Gulf Coast is essentially being devalued because it discourages development, renewal, and most importantly, the ability to rebuild if another storm were to happen. Plus, the financial burden of flood insurance costs makes it extremely difficult for working families to afford to live in the area.
What has happened and is happening to Pascagoula, Mississippi could be the best example of what is in store for coastal areas of Florida after this year’s hurricanes. There are tens of thousands of homeowners in Florida who have been flooded along the coast or rivers this year and who are about to find out that their land and property has been significantly devalued by these storms and the new regulations. This is a huge issue with few good answers.
To see for yourself how these new rules and regulations may soon affect you, I suggest you go to https://sospascagoula.com/ and read the Pascagoula Mississippi story and what they are fighting now.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.