State & federal leaders look at flood risk areas


AMORY, Miss. (WCBI)- Federal and state agencies are trying to reduce the risks of flooding deaths and property loss throughout an area in Northeast Mississippi.

As rain continued to fall throughout Monroe County, community leaders, emergency managers, local planners and others met with officials from FEMA, MEMA and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

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The “Discovery Meeting for the Upper Tombigbee Watershed” was an opportunity to learn more about a FEMA program called Risk MAP, which helps communities identify, assess and reduce flood risks.

The latest technology will be used to gather information, which can help counties develop better disaster plans, and could impact homeowners insurance rates, depending on whether their property is in a flood plain.

“One of the things we will be doing is using, LiDar, fairly recent LiDar, excellent elevation data and studies with LiDar are much more accurate and better studies,” said Stephen Champlin, of MDEQ.

The Upper Tombigbee Discovery Meeting is not only an opportunity for officials to get information about the watershed project, it also gives the local officials an opportunity to let MEMA representatives know about any flood prone areas in their counties.

“Top priority is public safety, and there’s not only issues with flooding causing drowning and damage to property but people can easily be electrocuted if electrical apparatus are placed above flood prone building requirements,” said Randy Jones, the flood plain administrator for Clay County.

“That is one thing we will be learning, I’m sure they will do remapping, probably new areas not in flood zone or flood ares before,” said Cindy Lawrence, the EMA Director for Lowndes County.

Information gathered will help determine which areas of the watershed need mapping, a risk assessment, or other services.

The entire process will take three to five years and will involve community meetings, public hearings and oversight and approval from FEMA