The Federal Emergency Management Agency has updated its Palm Beach County flood maps for the first time in 30 years, and the preliminary versions released in June may come as a big, potentially expensive surprise to property owners in communities where the county has seen much of its growth during that time: Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Loxahatchee and The Acreage.
While other areas of the county also saw an increase in properties designated as high-risk flood zones — particularly western Boca Raton and the towns around Lake Okeechobee, the far-greatest change appears in the central-west part of the county.
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Staff writers Mitra Malek and Kevin Thompson contributed to this story.
What high-risk flood zones mean
* Flood insurance usually required for mortgaged property.
* Tougher building code requirements.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
It has been 30 years since FEMA updated local flood maps. New maps released by FEMA in June put much of Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Loxahatchee and The Acreage in high-risk flood zones, meaning many property owners in those communites could be required to purchase flood insurance. Local and county officials are gearing up to contest the new maps and want FEMA to push back deadlines for finalizing the preliminary maps.