Yakima County is sponsoring a FEMA Flood Insurance Open House on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 to help answer questions about the impacts of new FEMA flood maps for property owners in the vicinity of Wide Hollow, Cottonwood and Shaw Creeks.

According to County officials, the new FEMA maps become effective for these areas on July 17. "When a community is issued new FEMA flood maps, many lenders review the flood insurance need and compliance for all loans in that entire community," stated Dianna Woods, Public Services Surface Water Program Analyst. "Because the FEMA flood maps are now county-wide, the lender reviews may include all floodplain properties in the county including those inside the cities." Woods added that after the FEMA map change in 2009, the County received many calls from insurance agents and concerned property owners from Toppenish to Naches who received letters from their mortgage lenders with unexpected requirements. "The purpose of the open house is to answer questions about the changes from property owners, insurance agents and the public before the effective date."

The open house will begin with a brief overview of flood insurance program changes and an update on the new flood maps. After the overview, attendees may visit the information tables for a one-on-one discussion of their specific situation and to view a flood map of their property. FEMA, state and local officials will be on hand to answer questions.