The City of Birmingham Floodplain Management and Disaster Mitigation Services public counter located at 710 North 20th Street Room 500, Birmingham Alabama 35203 is the primary location for disseminating information about the flood hazards within our Birmingham communities. The counter is available M-F 8:00am – 4:30pm. At the public counter, all questions are directed to the floodplain management staff of Planning Engineering and Permitting where staff will research and prepare solutions to address unique situations and floodplain issues are carefully addressed pursuant to Federal and State requirements. The information distributed from the counter on a daily basis is extensive and includes various publications, which are available for viewing or as a handout. Residents and businesses are encouraged to visit the Floodplain Management and Disaster Mitigation Services public counter to review their concerns and issues with an experienced staff member.
Basic FIRM information that is needed to accurately rate a flood insurance policy, flood zone and local flood hazard area information is available. Information about the following topics is available at the front counter in the form of a flyer or may be discussed verbally:
Additional information available:
- Base Flood Elevation (BFE) if requested (if available)
- Additional FIRM information such as floodways
- Problems not shown on the FIRM such as local drainage
- Approximate ground elevation in NAVD 1988 datum
- Historical flood information which may include location of nearest high water mark, repetitive loss area, flood photos, and flood calls
- Areas that may be protected because of their natural floodplain functions
- Copies of Elevation Certificates on file (if available)
- Explaining Flood Insurance
- Map reading and interpretation
The City maintains an extensive GIS database recording flood hotspots as reported by the community as well as based on damage assessments following major flood events.
The City of Birmingham’s Floodplain Management and Disaster Mitigation Services is equipped with the tools necessary to provide residents, and stakeholders with Basic FIRM Information. The Basic FIRM Information encompasses:
- Whether the property is in a SFHA,
- The community number,
- The panel number and suffix,
- The date of the FIRM’s index (cover panel),
- The FIRM zone, eg, A, C, X, V, AE, A2, AO, etc.,
- The base flood elevation (the depth in AO Zones) where shown on the FIRM, and
- The elevation datum used on the FIRM, if other than NGVD.
Along with FIRM information listed above we provide access to:
Flood Insurance Study (FIS). The document which provides an examination, evaluation and determination of flood hazards and, if appropriate, corresponding water surface elevations, or an examination, evaluation and determination of mudslide and/or flood-related erosion hazards.
Letter of Map Change (LOMC). An official FEMA determination, by letter, to amend or revise effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps, Flood Boundary and Floodway Maps, and Flood Insurance Studies. LOMC‟s are broken down into the following categories:
- Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA): An amendment based on technical data showing that a property was incorrectly included in a designated SFHA, was not elevated by fill (only by a natural grade elevation), and will not be inundated by the one percent chance flood. A LOMA amends the current effective FIRM and establishes that a specific property is not located in a SFHA.
- Letter of Map Revision (LOMR): A revision based on technical data that, usually due to manmade changes, shows changes to flood zones, flood elevations, floodplain and floodway delineations, and planimetric features. One common type of LOMR, a LOMR-F, is a determination concerning whether a structure or parcel has been elevated by fill above the BFE and is, therefore, excluded from the SFHA.
- Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR): A formal review and comment by FEMA as to whether a proposed project complies with the minimum NFIP floodplain management criteria. A CLOMR does not revise effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps, Flood Boundary and Floodway Maps, or Flood Insurance Studies.
Know your flood hazard
It is best to find out if your property is located in a high-risk area.
This can be done by obtaining FEMA flood maps (D-FIRM). D-Firms have been created to show different degrees of risk, which can help determine the cost of flood insurance. You can review the D-FIRM map for your area and/or contact Floodplain Management and Disaster Mitigation Services. If you’re buying a home, don’t count on your realtor to tell you about any potential flood risk; realtors are often unaware of such issues. And be aware that, just because a property has not experienced a flood in the past, it doesn’t mean that it won’t in the future.