The City of Key West and FIRM have been working with Woods Hole Group to review and prepare an appeal of the preliminary FEMA flood maps that were issued on December 27, 2019. The City’s appeal contains a wealth of scientific and technical data, and its submission falls within the 90-day appeal period that commenced on March 19, 2021.
FEMA’s study included Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties along with Monroe County. FEMA’s determinations are based upon mainland storm modeling covering large areas with geographic and topographic features that greatly differ from those of the Florida Keys.
Key West’s appeal includes a reanalysis of certain aspects of FEMA’s study that are more applicable for the Florida Keys considering its geography, its unique characteristics such as myriad channels and extensive nearshore reef, and makes use of better and more recent data such as Hurricane Irma.
FIRM began working independently with Ransom Consulting prior to the issuance of the maps in December of 2019. According to City of Key West Floodplain Coordinator Scott Fraser a preview of the maps in May of 2019 revealed assumptions that he suspected did not correlate with the topography of the island. At its own expense, FIRM, with input from Fraser, contracted with Ransom Consulting to determine if there would be grounds for an appeal. After a review of Ransom’s findings, the City of Key West funded FIRM’s contract with Woods Hole Group for a full re-study with Ransom Consulting as a sub-contractor.
If the appeal is successful, it will save Key West property owners over $5 million in additional annual flood insurance premiums vs. having the maps adopted without challenge. More information about the maps and the appeal can be found on the City of Key West website and FIRM’s website.