Ask the Mayor: Tsunami Inundation Zones Not the Same as Flood Zones

September 25, 2016, 12:00 PM HST · Updated September 25, 12:20 PM
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Maui Flood Zone Map, courtesy County of Maui.

Maui Flood Zone Map, courtesy County of Maui.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his office staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], call 270-7855 or send them by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Aloha Readers,

Recently in this column, I answered a question about flood insurance and mentioned that you could find out if you are in a flood zone by looking at the maps in the white pages of your phone book.

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I have since been reminded that these are not technically flood maps, but rather tsunami inundation maps. The difference is that a flood doesn’t need to originate from the ocean, as does a tsunami.

Floods can occur near streams, rivers, gulches, ditches, roads or anywhere fast-running water can flow.

The ʻĪao Valley flood last week is a perfect example, as that flood came from the Wailuku River overflowing.

For viewing flood maps, you can use FEMA’s map service center at https://msc.fema.gov/portal.

For information on flood insurance, premiums, flood risks and other related information, go to www.floodsmart.gov.

Please note that these FEMA flood maps do not include parcel boundaries on properties. You may need to compare FEMA maps with county property tax maps.

Also, you can use the State of Hawai‘i flood hazard assessment tool, which will give an approximate location of the property.

To find a particular flood zone, log on to http://gis.hawaiinfip.org/FHAT. Using the “TMK Search” on the right, you can enter the Tax Map Key or the address on the upper left “Search” window.

Once you locate the property, the tab labeled “Map Legend” on the right gives an explanation of what color is associated with which flood zones and what it means.

I apologize for the mistake last week, but hopefully with the Īao flood still fresh on everyone’s mind, this expanded explanation will be both relevant and useful.

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