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

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued new preliminary
Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for Polk County on June 17th, 2015, and for
Warren County on June 22, 2015.  The City of Des Moines has posted the
preliminary FIRMs on this page for viewing. 

Frequently Asked Questions
What are Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs)?

Flood Insurance Rate Maps show the extent to which areas are at risk for flooding, and are used to help determine flood insurance and building requirements.


Why are the preliminary FIRMs available for viewing?

FEMA allows the public and professionals to view the City’s preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps before they become effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the following reasons:

  • Allows the public to voice their opinions or concerns regarding how the data may affect them or to question data accuracy. 
  • Insurance agents can compare existing FIRMs with preliminary FIRMs to see how their clients may be affected. However, policies cannot be written using preliminary data. 
  • Loan and mortgage brokers can use preliminary data as a guide to determine whether a property may be mapped into a high-risk area, allowing the borrower to be informed of any changes or requirements before finalizing the loan. 
  • Real estate agents and brokers can determine what changes are likely to occur and how it might affect any properties for sale. 
  • Engineers, developers and builders can plan for safer construction. 


What is the Difference between Preliminary and Effective Data?

Preliminary data, including preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), are not for use, distribution or replication until the data are finalized and labeled as “effective” on the FEMA Flood Map Service Center. Preliminary data are for review and guidance purposes only. By viewing preliminary data, the user acknowledges that the information provided is preliminary and subject to change. Preliminary data, including new or revised FIRMs, Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports and FIRM Databases, are not final and are presented on the FEMA Flood Map Service Center as the best information available at this time. Additionally, preliminary data cannot be used to rate flood insurance policies or enforce the federal mandatory purchase requirement. Preliminary data will be removed and replaced once effective data are available.  Unlike preliminary data, effective data and maps are official and should be used for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) purposes and viewing risk premium zones applicable to a community. If you don’t want to view preliminary data, go to your community’s effective FIRM or effective FIS Report available on the FEMA Flood Map Service Center (http://msc.fema.gov/portal).


Source:  http://www.fema.gov/view-your-communitys-preliminary-flood-hazard-data-0 ; Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

If you have additional questions, please see FEMA’s website (http://www.fema.gov/view-your-communitys-preliminary-flood-hazard-data-0) or feel free to contact Charles Lepak with the City of Des Moines at 515-283-4182 or calepak@dmgov.org.