Destructive storms over the past several years have served as a reality check for many Brazoria County and Texas residents. What were once considered areas mostly safe from rising waters have proved potentially to be in the path of destruction.

The county and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are working to inform residents about the proposed floodplain maps and assessments this week through a pair of open house events, and anyone who can attend needs to take advantage of this opportunity.

The two events will be held 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Lake Jackson Civic Center at 333 Highway 332 and 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Brazoria County Fairgrounds Auditorium at 901 S. Downing St. in Angleton.

The open houses, organized by the floodplain administrator of Brazoria County, will inform attendees of updated information on their property’s flood risks, if any.

While Surfside Beach and Hide Away on the Gulf see the largest changes, according to the new information, the new maps could impact many residents who believed their properties to be removed from such threats.

The new maps, which have not officially been approved, are the first changes in three decades. The current floodplain maps were developed in 1989 and proved to be based on incorrect elevation calculations within only a handful of years, Lake Jackson city Manager Bill Yenne previously told The Facts.

Some lucky residents will hear the good news their homes or businesses are no longer a flood risk. Others, whose property might never have flooded, could be shocked to learn the risks have changed.

An increase in the amount of pavement, businesses and housing combined with a loss of wetlands or natural areas can greatly alter what happens to water once it reaches the ground.

There have been a large number of flooding events in recent years which might have changed people’s perspectives on what areas are at risk. Every flood is different and it can be difficult to predict when it will be your turn.

That’s why it is important for as many people as possible to attend and gain information about what the new maps, if approved, could mean for insurance and construction costs.

For renters, the information could prove important in making a decision about where next to live. For home and business property owners, this information can change construction plans and insurance costs. Flood insurance is an investment that will protect your future, and federal assistance can be held up in legislation for years, as has proved to be true this year.

And don’t forget it’s already hurricane season.

When the next storm hits, you won’t regret being too prepared.

Sadly, all too often these meetings have not been well attended and ignored by the general public, but they can provide information that can save property owners money in the long term, preventing them from cutting costs where they shouldn’t and risk losing it all from one bad storm.

Let’s change that. Attend one of the floodplain open houses and get informed.

This editorial was written by Rene Schwartz, news editor for The Facts.

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