Preliminary flood insurance rate maps released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) indicate property owners in parts of northwest Lodi and Woodbridge may be required to purchase flood insurance in the future.
FEMA is currently updating its flood-risk maps, which designate flood insurance rates zones, for all of San Joaquin County. The maps will undergo a year-long review before they go into effect in early 2009.
Lodi has not flooded since 1955, largely because the Mokelumne River is controlled at Camanche Dam, which was completed in 1964. Lodi does not have any certified flood protection levees and, with the exception of the Rivergate neighborhood, was not considered within a flood plain in 1987 when FEMA released its previous flood insurance map.
City officials are hopeful FEMA will scale back its preliminary flood zone after reconsidering elevation data provided by the city, so some Lodi residents are not required to purchase insurance. Even if the preliminary maps are adopted, the risk to public safety is minimal. According to FEMA's flood study, flooding in northwest Lodi from a 1-in-100-chance event would be "broad, shallow, overland flooding generally less than 2 feet deep."
The proposed maps for the Lodi area can be viewed on the City of Lodi’s Web page at www.lodi.gov. Areas within the proposed flood plain are generally north of a line extending southwest from Lodi Lake to north of White Oak Way at the city limits.
Officials from the city are meeting with FEMA next week to learn more about why Lodi is being added to the 1-percent flood plain. Because public safety is the city's paramount interest, city officials hope to learn what steps can be taken to remove Lodi neighborhoods from the potential flood area, from re-evaluating flood data or ensuring floodway areas on the Mokelumne River’s north bank remain undeveloped to accommodate high flows.
Lodi’s Public Works Department also plans on working closely with its counterpart in San Joaquin County to determine what steps the agencies can take to lessen the flood risk for Lodi and the adjacent unincorporated community of Woodbridge. FEMA officials will officially present the findings contained in the Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Map to local officials on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
If you own property secured by a mortgage in the newly designated area with a 1-in-100 chance of flooding in any given year, your lender will likely require you to purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance for Lodi homeowners currently costs up to $317 annually for $250,000 worth of coverage for the structure and $100,000 worth of contents. For those within the proposed flood plain, the same annual coverage would cost $2,462, according to National Flood Insurance Program estimates.
A typical homeowners’ insurance policy does not cover flood losses. Property owners who purchase insurance before the new maps go into effect may have the opportunity to continue paying the lower rate. Contact your insurance agent to learn more.
For more information on FEMA’s re-evaluation of San Joaquin County flood maps, visit http://www.sjgov.org/pubworks/flood_info.htm. For information about flood insurance, including a rate estimation tool, visit www.floodsmart.gov.