Appeal Period for the Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps Begins on Feb. 9th

The 90-day appeal period for the Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) issued last August by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) officially begins February 9, 2016.  Any owner or lessee of real property on Hawai‘i Island who believes his or her property rights will be adversely affected by the proposed flood hazard determinations may appeal to the County.

Flood MapThe preliminary maps are not just a digital version of the existing paper maps, but include new flood zones and changes to existing flood zones along the entire island coastal area, as well as the upper Waiākea area of Hilo, certain parts of Waimea and North and South Kona.  Hāmākua and Kohala remain largely unchanged.

The sole basis for such appeals is based on information from a certified survey done by a licensed surveyor or a drainage study done by a licensed civil engineer showing that the proposed flood hazard determinations are scientifically or technically incorrect.  All appeals should be submitted to the County Department of Public Works (DPW) Engineering Division by April 26, 2016 to be included in the Appeal Package the County will forward to FEMA for review.

DPW offices are located in Hilo at the Aupuni Center ((808) 961-8327) across from Long’s downtown and in Kona at the West Hawai‘i  Civic Center ((808) 323-4850) on the Ane Keohokālole Highway.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) have many uses, including insurance rating and regulation of development.  Use of the maps is required for the County’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, which makes the County eligible for federal disaster aid in the event of a federally declared natural disaster.  Examples are Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014 and the heavy flooding in November 2000.

The new digital maps are intended to replace the existing paper maps.  The digital format will allow the maps to be more easily accessed and viewed on the internet.

Flooding is one of the major natural disasters in the United States. These maps can help residents make informed decisions about flood insurance options and flood protection measures.

More detailed information is available on the County’s website at

FEMA has posted digital copies of revised DFIRM and FIS report materials to the following Website:

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