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Flood Insurance Rate Maps
Flood Insurance Rate Maps
Flood maps are available for viewing on-line through the FEMA Map Service Center. The maps displayed on the FEMA/ESRI or any other on-line site should be considered an advisory tool for general hazard awareness, education and flood plain management. The maps on the sites are not the legal documents to be used when making a special flood hazard area determination.

In addition to the on-line tool, you may visit any Pasco County Central Permitting office to view the flood insurance rate maps in effect. Pasco County maintains all maps issued for unincorporated Pasco County since 1981.

Flood Risk

Each flood zone shown on the Flood Maps describes that land area in terms of its risk of flooding. Everyone lives in a flood zone – it’s just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate, or high risk area.

High Flood Risk
Zones designated as AE, A, AH or AO Zone. These properties have a 1 percent chance of flooding in any year and a 26 percent chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.

VE or V Zones. These properties also have a 1 percent chance of flooding in any year and also face hazards associated with coastal storm waves.

High-risk areas are called Special Flood Hazard Areas, and flood insurance is mandatory for most mortgage holders.

Low or Moderate Flood Risk

Shaded X Zone. These properties are outside the high-risk zones. The risk is reduced but not removed.

X Zone. These properties are in an area of lower risk.

Lower-cost preferred rate flood insurance policies (known as Preferred Risk Policies) are often an option in these areas.


The Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM’S) portray the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and Floodway Boundaries within which the purchase of flood insurance is required as a condition for granting a mortgage from a federally backed or federally regulated lending institution. The lender or insurance agent must use the boundaries of the SFHA’s shown on the maps to determine if mandatory insurance applies. Thus, even though a site survey may indicate that the home site is above the base flood elevation and is technically outside the floodplain, if the home site is within the gray shaded area on the map, flood insurance might be required.

The general lack of detailed topographic mapping throughout the nation means that the floodplain boundaries in most communities cannot be mapped with 100% accuracy. Many areas of high ground are shown as floodplain and some low areas are not.

Therefore, FEMA created the Letter of Map Amendment process to correct or change the flood maps to reflect actual ground surveys or better topographic mapping. Letters are issued by FEMA officially removing lots or portions of lots from the SFHA. These are sent to the homeowner and also filed with the County. The building/site is removed from flood zones AE, A, V, etc, and placed in flood zones B.C, or X which are not part of the SFHA.

When a LOMR/R is issued removing a building from the SFHA, the mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement is lifted. However, the lender has the option of requiring flood insurance anyway. For example, the home site might be just a few inches above the BFE, so the lender feels that there may still be a threat of flood damage to their secured property. On the plus side, once the flood zone has been changed to B, C, or X, the building qualifies for a preferred risk policy, the least expensive flood insurance available.

Application fees are required and the process can take 6-8 weeks. Applications are available on-line, at any Central Permitting Division office or you can contact FEMA at 770-220-5400.