FEMA approves updated maps of Roanoke floodplain

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 7:32 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Check out the Roanoke River on a quiet August afternoon, and it’s hard to appreciate the potential for flooding.

But anyone who’s lived here long enough, knows what can happen when heavy rain and excessive run-off visit the Roanoke Valley.

Now the city and its consultant have completed a comprehensive study of the Roanoke River floodplain, and FEMA has approved new floodplain maps that can help homeowners in the city understand their risk.

Marcus Aguilar is a civil engineer with the City of Roanoke.

“The study’s important,” Aguilar said in an interview Tuesday afternoon, “because it gives us the most accurate portrayal of flood risk along the river that we’ve ever had.”

He says the new maps will help property owners along the river answer important questions.

“Is my property at risk of flooding? How bad is it potentially at risk of flooding? And if it is at risk, how much flood insurance do I need to protect my assets against the 100-year flood, again the sort of severe flood that the maps help us understand?” Aguilar said.

About 95% of the 1400 properties that were part of the review were either unaffected by the revisions, or will face less restrictive requirements. A small percentage will face more restrictive land development or insurance requirements.

The 49 property owners in the more restrictive category will receive a letter explaining the changes and the potential need for flood insurance.

And the city is inviting anyone who’s interested to attend the Prepareathon September 16 at the Berglund Center, where experts will be available to answer their questions.