FEMA Flood Insurance Maps
View FEMA Flood Hazard Maps for the City of Des Moines

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently issued new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for both Polk County and Warren County. The Polk County FIRMs took effect on February 1st, 2019. The Warren County FIRMs took effect on November 16th, 2018.  If you would like to make an inquiry on whether or not a property is in the floodplain or if you have any questions regarding the new floodplain maps, please contact the Permit & Development Center at 515-283-4096 or stop in to our offices located at 602 Robert D Ray Drive (Armory building) during normal business hours.

Flood Maps can be viewed here: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home

Letter of Map Change Actions

Prior to the new FIRMs taking effect, FEMA reviewed all previously issued Letter of Map Change (LOMC) actions to determine which actions would still be valid with the new maps. On January 25, 2019, FEMA mailed a letter to the City of Des Moines that included a list of LOMCs that remain in effect.  Any previously issued LOMCs that are not included on this list were superseded and are no longer valid. If there is a LOMC not on the list that you feel should have been revalidated, FEMA has a process to request a re-determination. Instructions on requesting a re-determination can be found in the letter.

CLICK HERE to view the letter.


Letter of Map Amendment – Out As Shown

Often when new Flood Insurance Rate Maps are issued for communities lending institutions will perform a review of the outstanding mortgages within that community to determine if any properties are located in Special Flood Hazard Area (i.e. 100-year floodplain).  Lending institutions are required by the Flood Disaster Protection Act (originally passed by Congress in 1973) to mandate property owners purchase flood insurance if the structure that is used as collateral for the mortgage is located within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
Lending institutions typically hire a flood zone determination company to review the new floodplain maps and make a determination on whether the structure is located in the SFHA.  To make such determinations these companies often utilize software programs that compare the new FEMA flood maps against parcel data.  Occasionally, the company will perform a determination and indicate the property is located in the new SFHA without reviewing the new maps to determine if the structure itself is located in the SFHA.   In some instances the new SFHA will be located on the property but does not encompass the structure.

In these situations, property owners can apply for Letter of Map Amendment – Out as Shown with FEMA to remove the mandatory purchase requirement of flood insurance.  However, the new maps must clearly show the structure to be located outside of the SFHA.

CLICK HERE for more information about the LOMA-OAS process.

CLICK HERE for the MT-EZ form.

CLICK HERE for instructions to fill out the LOMA-OAS that is referenced.

CLICK HERE to view the City of Des Moines Community Development Flood Information Center