New FEMA maps classify Howard Beach as a flood zone


If you’ve paid attention to the flooding in the Rockaways from Hurricane Sandy, it’s probably not a surprise that much of Howard Beach (GMAP) is now considered to be in a flood zone in the new FEMA maps, which were released last week. The Queens Chronicle reports that the flood zone includes “the entire neighborhood south of the Belt Parkway and a section of Lindenwood west of 84th Street are now considered flood hazard zones.”

These maps are considered “advisory” at this moment in time, and are available to help residents as they clean up after Sandy. Regulatory maps are the more permanent maps and they will come out later this spring. Hannah Vick, a spokesperson from FEMA said, “Adopting flood maps takes one to two years and we were working on the maps for the New York area anyway. We had this scientific data; we didn’t want to just sit on it.”

Howard Beach

Howard Beach before Hurricane Sandy – note all the homes right on the water at sea level

When those final regulatory maps come out, first they’ll need to be approved by the City Council – public hearings will be held before the vote. Appeals are part of the process, too, and they could take a long time. If the maps are indeed approved everyone in the flood zone would have to buy flood insurance. Vick suggests all residents get it anyway, as well as consider “raising homes higher than the 10-to-15 feet altitude outlined in the zone map.”

Howard Beach a flood zone in new FEMA maps [Queens Chronicle]