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FEMA Flood Maps

View FEMA Flood Hazard Maps for the City of Des Moines

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently issued new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for both Polk County and Warren County.
  • Polk County FIRMs took effect on February 1st, 2019.
  • Warren County FIRMs took effect on November 16th, 2018.
  • To find out if a  property is in the floodplain, or if you have questions about the new floodplain maps, call or visit us during normal business hours:
Permit & Development Center
Phone: (515) 283-4096
Address:  602 Robert D Ray Drive (Armory building) during normal business hours.


Letter of Map Change (LOMC) Actions

  • Before the new FIRMs took effect, FEMA reviewed all previously issued LOMC actions to determine which would still be valid with the new maps.
  • On January 25, 2019, FEMA mailed a letter to the City of Des Moines that included a list of LOMCs that remain in effect.
  • Any previously issued LOMCs that are not included on this list were superseded and are no longer valid.
  • If there is a LOMC not on the list that you feel should have been revalidated, FEMA has a process to request a redetermination. Instructions on requesting a redetermination can be found in the letter.
  • View the letter.

Letter of Map Amendment – Out As Shown

  • Lending institutions will often perform a review of outstanding mortgages in a community when the new Flood Insurance Rate Maps are issued to determine if any properties are located in the Special Flood Hazard Area (i.e., 100 year floodplain).
  • Lending institutions are required by the Flood Disaster Protection Act (originally passed by Congress in 1973) to mandate property owners purchase flood insurance if the structure that is used as collateral for the mortgage is located within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
  • Lending institutions typically hire a flood zone determination company to review the new floodplain maps and make a determination on whether the structure is located in the SFHA.
    • To make such determinations these companies often utilize software programs that compare the new FEMA flood maps against parcel data.
    • Occasionally, the company will perform a determination and indicate the property is located in the new SFHA without reviewing the new maps to determine if the structure itself is located in the SFHA.
    • In some instances the new SFHA will be located on the property but does not encompass the structure.
  • In these situations, property owners can apply for Letter of Map Amendment – Out as Shown with FEMA to remove the mandatory purchase requirement of flood insurance. However, the new maps must clearly show the structure to be located outside of the SFHA.
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