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FEMA drafts new flood zones in Boston

FEMA recently drafted new flood zones for the Boston area.
FEMA recently drafted new flood zones for the Boston area.

In some parts of the United States, flooding is a normal occurrence in the wake of a significant storm or hurricane. Boston specifically, is aware of these risks because of its coastal environment.

For the first time in decades, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is using engineering modeling to create more precise maps for Boston and other low-lying territories in the U.S., the Boston Globe reported. Based on FEMA's initial findings, about 18,000 residents and almost 4,000 businesses are in danger of future storms.

Previously, FEMA would only come in to update these at-risk areas when community members voiced their concerns about existing maps. Despite the fact that this information could be useful for future continuity of operations planning, some residents and business owners are not looking forward to paying for flood insurance premiums.

Flood zones have expanded into parts of East Boston, Dorchester, South Boston's waterfront and the Financial District.

"People need to be aware of it, for development reasons," Kerry Bogdan, a senior FEMA engineer for New England told the Globe. "For insurance purposes. And, first and foremost, for what their risk is for their safety."

Under the current map, only 1,000 property owners are carrying flood insurance policies, costing them about $911 per year, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. In response to these reports, the city is looking to a business continuity consultant to see if the data is accurate to take specific actions. FEMA's proposed flood maps aren't expected to take into effect until 2015.