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The Risks We Face

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Maps

Prior to Hurricane Sandy, FEMA was in the process of updating the flood maps for New York City that were originally drawn for the city in 1983. FEMA released the updated Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (Preliminary FIRMs) for New York City on December 5, 2013. The new maps are based on better topographic data, modern storm surge models, and 30 additional years of weather data. The new Preliminary FIRMs show an expanded floodplain that includes almost twice as many buildings (68,000 vs. 36,000) and increased base flood elevations (BFEs) of 2-4 feet throughout the 100-year floodplain. After a public comment and appeals period, the maps are expected to become official FIRMs in 2016.

As a result of updated and more accurate mapping, nearly double the number of New York City residents will be required to purchase flood insurance (download local maps here). In addition, residents throughout the 100-year floodplain will see a dramatic increases in their premiums due to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12), which gradually repeals long-standing flood insurance subsidies on many new policies in New York City. These increases could price many residents out of their homes and cause a significant decline in property values, potentially affecting the stability of entire neighborhoods, including many of those still recovering from Sandy.

The City aims to work with FEMA to disseminate the most updated flood map information and ensure fairness and affordability of new federal standards for flood insurance. New York City was active in lobbying for the passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 (HFIAA) to mitigate the steep increases in premiums stipulated by BW-12. Additionally, the City is working on solutions that increase resiliency and address affordability, like premium credits for mitigation efforts other than elevation. To date, FEMA has announced a premium credit for the elevation of mechanical systems and HFIAA includes an optional lower-cost, high-deductible policies for residential properties.

There are a few options to determine your flood risk.  Visit:

Center for New York City Neighborhoods (CNYCN)

FEMA’s Region II Coastal

Or, view the flood maps in person at borough Department of Buildings offices:

Manhattan Borough Office
NYC Department of Buildings
280 Broadway 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10007

Cheryl Leon
(212) 393-2914

Bronx Borough Office
NYC Department of Buildings
1932 Arthur Avenue, 5th Floor
Bronx, NY 10457

Tomasz Bielecki
(718) 579-2942

Brooklyn Borough Office
NYC Department of Buildings
210 Joralemon Street, 8th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Carlos Pineiro
(718) 802-3675

Queens Borough Office
NYC Department of Buildings
120-55 Queens Blvd
Queens, NY 11424

William Hinckley
(718) 286-0600

Staten Island Borough Office
NYC Department of Buildings
10 Richmond Terrace, 2nd Floor
Staten Island, NY 10301

Theresa Hall
(718) 420-5400


The Preliminary FIRMs are now going through a public review process, and FEMA is now accepting comments on the Preliminary FIRMs. Comments are accepted anytime and do not address Base Flood Elevations (BFEs), floodplain boundaries or flood zone designations.

Comments can be submitted electronically here and hard copies can be submitted via mail to:

Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency
c/o Flood Map Comments
253 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Comments may be provided by telephone by contacting 311, New York City's main source of government information and non-emergency services. Dial 311 within New York City or (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) from outside New York City.

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