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Better maps changing flood insurance

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An update in Pierce County means thousands of dollars


It may not be one of the highlights in a listing, but many houses in our area require flood insurance. We may not have major rivers like the Mississippi or the Columbia flowing through Seattle, but will all of our rain, snow, tides, and storms but we do get floods. Waterfront sounds appealing until you realize it can be water-front, water-back, and water-inside. A new set of maps is demonstrating the effect in Pierce County.

Mapping technology has improved in the thirty years since the last time they published maps for the unincorporated areas near Lake Tapps. KIRO TV reports that;

“Officials say about 1,500 properties will actually be taken out of flood zones, but some 800 will be added.“ - KIRO

Flood insurance can be a few thousand dollars a year, which makes a big difference for some home buyers when they try to qualify for a loan.


With numbers like those, and with all of our lakes and rivers, checking out the maps can save buyers and owners a lot of money. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has an interactive map that you can dive into to get information about specific areas. Many places are unmapped, but that may be because we also have a lot of hills, too.

Weather geeks can track places prone to flooding by following the news from the National Weather Service (NWS) during storms, large snow melts, and high tides. They list some surprising sources of floods for our area.

  • Flash Flooding
  • River Flooding
  • Coastal Flooding
  • Burn Scars/Debris Flows
  • Ice/Debris Jams
  • Snowmelt
  • Dry Wash
  • Dam Breaks/Levee Failure

Lake Tapps residents may be celebrating good or bad news, depending on their elevation and exposure. Soon we’ll also see the snowmelt, undoubtedly another storm or two, and hopefully no dam breaks. Get informed. Stay dry. And, maybe check your insurance.