Staying Afloat

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Flooding is a problem made crystal clear by Hurricane Jeanne, and what many folks may not realize is how outdated and inaccurate the flood maps actually are.

Von Shipman, a Valdosta city engineer, says, "The old method required a land surveyor to take the hard copy and profiles and accurately depict on the property where the flood plane is."

But thanks to recent federal funding, all the maps will be updated and reproduced in a digital format.

Obviously the new digital system will help speed up this time-consuming process. The biggest advantage, however, is that folks in low lying areas will now know if they're expected to have flood insurance.

That information would have saved Don Alexander a lot of headaches. Hurricane Jeanne flooded his backyard even though he was told his house was not in a flood area. Updated maps will help prove that's no longer the case.

Don Alexander says, "It's quite a surprise to us because we are in a flood zone with all the problems that happened. It's horrible, especially for the people that really had a lot of damage done to their homes that they don't have the insurance to take care of it."

Don says had he known how old the flood maps were he'd definitely be living in another part of town.

Alexander says, "I'm glad the storm came through because now it's showing people that something needs to be done."

City engineers say it will take about two years to update the flood maps.