The Federal Emergency Management Agency is updating its flood zone maps in the Tampa Bay area and the changes could affect thousands of home and business owners.
FEMA has released preliminary maps for Pinellas and Pasco counties. New maps for Hillsborough, Hernando, Manatee and Citrus counties are also expected.
The agency is hosting meetings tonight [Wednesday 6-9 p.m.] and tomorrow [Thursday] to help property owners understand what the changes mean for them.
“It's an open house style meeting where people can come in and ask questions about the different areas that impact them, specifically understanding how to look up their property and how these changes may be affecting their property, said Libby Bolling, public information specialist for Pinellas County.
Insurance representatives will also be on hand to help residents understand how the changes will affect their flood insurance.
Some properties that were not in a flood zone on the old maps may now be included in one, Bolling said.
Those property owners would be required to purchase flood insurance if they have a federally backed mortgage, she said.
Property owners who attend the Pinellas meetings need only bring their address, Bolling said.
The Pinellas meetings will be held from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday at the Countryside Recreation Center, 2640 Sabal Springs Drive in Clearwater; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Thursday at the Seminole Recreation Center, 9100 113th Street North in Seminole.