Austin updating flood plain maps

Before the Memorial Day flood the city of Austin started the process of updating flood plain maps. The new maps bring the largest changes since 2008 and include areas studied for the first time.

Next month FEMA is expected to approve the maps and they will take effect in January 2016. The move means some property owners may have to purchase flood insurance.

The new maps remove 2,200 properties from the flood plain and place 2,400 properties into the flood plain.

"I was worried and started picking things up around the house," said homeowner Sandra Milligan. Milligan has lived in Brentwood since the 1970s.

She's thankful Tropical Storm Bill was a bust because on Memorial Day she wasn't so lucky. Milligan rushed to try to keep water out of her house but three to four inches made it inside. She lives near Grover Tributary which drains into Shoal Creek. The water caused almost $22,000 in damage.

"Luckily I have flood insurance," said Milligan. She's carried it for quite some time following the Memorial Day flood in 1981. Soon her neighbors may have no choice. Some along her street have recently been added to the flood plain.

"Now it's a little more official that yes we are in this flood plain and we should carry insurance," said Milligan.

"Grover tributary hasn't been studied before now and with past complaints about the drainage and flooding we decided to include it this time," said Jameson Courtney, the flood plain manager with the city's watershed protection department.

Courtney says maps help cities and homeowners identify the risk for flooding.

Wednesday the city was back out near Milligan's house removing debris from the creek.

While a sold sign hangs outside her home Milligan hopes for more mitigation in the future for her neighbors.

If you have drainage issues you can report them to the city by calling 311.


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