(TNS) – WASHINGTON – One of the lessons Houstonians learned from Hurricane Harvey last August was that urban flooding often happens outside recognized floodplains.
Congress, awakened by the torrent of floods and hurricanes in 2017, is now looking at legislation that would update local flood maps and help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) manage future floods.
The bipartisan Flood Mapping Modernization and Homeowner Empowerment Pilot Program Act of 2018, introduced Wednesday in the House and Senate, would provide $5.5 million for demonstration grants to cities to improve mapping technologies and provide better data to Congress and FEMA.
One of the House sponsors is Houston Republican John Culberson, TX-7, facing a potentially tough reelection challenge in November. He called the bill "another step forward to improve Houston's preparedness and every other community across the nation."
He noted that while the city is rebuilding after last year's devastating flooding, residents remain "extremely vulnerable to a future flooding event as we move into the 2018 Hurricane season."
The bill's backers say that urban flooding often occurs outside the regulatory floodplains, and that FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps don't always accurately indicate flood risks.
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