(JACKSON, Miss.) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Forrest County and Incorporated Areas in the county, announce that the recently completed preliminary Flood Insurance Study and its accompanying preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) which include base flood information and identification of areas subject to flood hazards are available for review by the public.

The new preliminary maps covering Forrest County and the Incorporated areas are available for viewing at the local community floodplain manager’s office or FEMA’s Map Service Center website. The new maps are also available for review on the MDEQ Flood Mapping web site here.

The new flood maps, officially presented on August 20, 2019, mark the first time in ten years that a comprehensive re-examination of the community’s flood zones has been conducted. Residents and businesses will now have up-to-date, reliable, Internet-accessible information about their flood risk on a property-by-property basis. The revised maps will also allow community planners, engineers, builders and others to make important determinations about where and how new structures and developments should be built.

The newly released maps are part of a larger effort to modernize the nation’s aging flood maps to reflect the most current flood risks and areas of recent growth. Forrest County’s new flood maps were developed by FEMA and MDEQ and its contractors after an extensive, multi-year study of the community’s floodplains that used state-of-the-art technologies and risk modeling techniques.

The updated flood hazard maps are still preliminary and have not yet been officially adopted. Between November 20, 2020, and February 18, 2021, there will be a Public Comment Period where property owners can submit appeals and protests if they disagree with the maps. Once these comments are received and addressed, the maps are expected to be adopted in late 2021. At that time, the new insurance requirements will take effect.