Visalia Flood Map Opens Deluge of Anger

May 3, 2009 5:56:18 PM PDT
Many residents are upset their insurance rates are increasing. In June nearly 9,000 properties in Visalia will officially fall into a 100 year flood zone. Many residents are upset their insurance rates are increasing.

In 1955 one foot of water hit Visalia flooding out streets, since then a dam was built and used as flood control. There have been no major flood issues since, that's why some residents are upset they have to pay a new flood insurance premium.

An amphibious vehicle can travel on land and water, according to a new FEMA flood map this vehicle might come in handy in parts of Visalia over the next 100-years.

"The new map is coming in to existence and you can't stop it," said Steven Nelson.

Starting June 16th Nelson's home insurance will increase nearly $400. After one year it could nearly double. Nelson is on a crusade to stop this financial dagger from stabbing his wallet and others.

"Low income with tears in their eyes and they're telling me by the second year when it's $848 minimum payment, they're going to lose their homes," said Nelson.

FEMA warns water from Mill Creek could rise up and overflow into the nearest subdivision.That's this area. But builder David Wind said with homes built off the curb and at least 4 feet, he's not concerned with flood water.

"To the east and all the homes to the north, they all raised up but now they're all out and this is the only one that's left in," said Wind.

Wind will be out $1,000,000 if he can't find people willing to move in to his properties and pay the insurance.

"The risk of flood loss in Visalia is very real," said a FEMA representative. FEMA spent the last year conducting surveys and analyzing maps to determine which areas of Visalia could be impacted by flood water. That's why senior engineer Eric Simmons said flood insurance is vital. "Purchasing of flood insurance can protect a home owner against economic devastation should a flood occur."

Nelson's crusade will continue Monday night at Visalia's convention center. City leaders anticipate a large group will express their concerns and worries.

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