A hot sunny 100-degree day probably doesn’t evoke thoughts of flooding, but Federal Emergency Management Agency staff gave residents plenty to think about.

FEMA officials on Thursday presented preliminary flood risk map changes and discussed upcoming flood insurance rate adjustments Thursday night during a virtual open house on flood risk information for Mankato and North Mankato residents.

Lower North Mankato will be designated as a moderate flood risk area protected by a levee as part of one of the changes. Under this designation, homeowners in the area will still not be required to purchase flood insurance. Yet changes in the National Flood Insurance Program’s risk rating going into effect in October will most likely increase flood insurance premiums for people in the area.

“The rates are probably going to go up for people getting new flood insurance policies,” said Ceil Strauss, National Flood Insurance Program coordinator for Minnesota.

The changes in how flood risk rates are determined are based on factors including a home’s proximity to the river, how well water drains into storm systems in the area and the building structure. Rates may be higher for Lower North Mankato residents because they live behind a levee system.

Suzanne Jiwani, Minnesota flood mapping coordinator, recommends people planning to buy flood insurance to get it before the new risk rating system goes into effect because policies will get more expensive in October.

There had been concern in 2017 that much of Lower North Mankato would be designated as part of the flood plain because of a flaw in the flood control system. If the area received that designation on the new flood risk maps, homeowners and businesses in the area would be required to purchase flood insurance at a cost of about $500 a year.

The flaw was a low point near Highway 14 and Highway 169 that increased the chance of flooding in parts of Lower North Mankato. In response, North Mankato and Mankato planned a $3.2 million dollar project to grade-raise about .8 miles of Highway 169. The project led to the moderate flood risk designation in the new preliminary map.

Only a few community members attended the virtual open house Thursday evening. FEMA staff plan to publish more information on the preliminary study and map in the Free Press in a couple months, asking for feedback on the changes.

The public will then have 90 days to submit comments before the maps go through a final review process.

The changes in designations should be finalized by next summer.


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