Jul. 7--The largest investment most Glynn Countians and other Georgians will make in their lifetime is home ownership. Most will ensure that lifetime investment is sufficiently covered by a reputable insurance company.
For many in Glynn County and in other coastal communities, that means purchasing a typical homeowner's insurance policy that will pay for all or most of the costs of repairing structural damage and replacing ruined contents due to calamities such as fire and smoke. Most homeowners whose properties lie outside federal high risk flood zones tend to slight the acquisition of insurance against rising water. They regard it as unnecessary.
Now, new flood data recently released by a New York nonprofit organization may be cause for some rethinking. First Street Foundation says its study of data shows that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has missed areas of high flood concern by tens of thousands of households in Georgia alone, many of them in Glynn County and along the rest of the coast.
This becomes a major problem when flooding occurs and homeowners with regular policies are dealing with water damage. Suddenly they find themselves facing thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. In 2018, FEMA reported the average cost of repairing a water-damaged house at $43,000. There's disaster declarations and low interest dollars available to qualified homeowners, but it's money that must be paid back.
A lot of homeowners learned this lesson the hard way in 2005. That's the year Tropical Storm Tammy nearly drowned Glynn County. People who never worried about flooding before were knee-deep in water in their own homes within hours after the first major storm in decades stomped through the Golden Isles.
Current flood maps proposed by FEMA do more than miss properties currently at risk, First Street Foundation warns. They also fail to take into account changing weather patterns. These changing patterns include more Atlantic storms, as well as more intense hurricanes and heavy rain events that can float an ark. Other contributors to greater danger skipped by FEMA include melting polar ice caps and rising seas, a factor ignored by some who view it as a fairy tale concocted by extreme environmentalists.
The end result will be thousands of more property owners waking up one day, a year or 10 years from now, and discovering a new threat to land and home.
Needless to say, many will question the validity of the data. Some won't even do that much. They'll just ignore it completely. Hopefully their inaction will stand the test of time.
For others who might be curious where they might stand today or tomorrow, the foundation offers a free website where they can type in their address to see what the organization predicts the future holds for them. It can be found at FloodFactor.com.
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