FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are issued after a flood risk assessment has been completed or updated for a community. This study is known as a Flood Insurance Study. The FIRM shows the Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) and insurance risk zones in addition to floodplain boundaries. The FIRM may also show a delineation of the regulatory floodway.
Once the "insurance risk zone" (commonly referred to as the flood zone) is determined, actuarial rates, based on these risk zones, are then applied for newly constructed, substantially approved, and substantially damaged buildings. FEMA uses these rates to determine the insurance rate you will pay for flood insurance.
To view these maps online, go to FEMA's Map Service Center and enter your address (hi-lited area shown here) search for your home. This will allow you to then select the map that covers your area. The Flood Maps are somewhat cumbersome to use online. I suggest going through the tutorial on the bottom right of the address search page in order to learn how to maneuver around in this GIS map.
If you are located in the City of Tuscaloosa, you might also check out the Tuscaloosa Interactive GIS maps for more information and a little easier interface. Check the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map box on the left to view the flood zones on this map.
Call Tuscaloosa Land Surveying at (205) 210-4954 or better yet fill out a contact form request if you need help with this process or if you discover you are near a flood zone and need an elevation survey completed. We are here to help you minimize your flooding risk.