Flood insurance rates may soon change for nearly 2000 property owners in Cedar Rapids, as updated flood plain maps will go into effect in April.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says about half of the properties will be reclassified at a higher risk for flooding while the other half will be in a lower risk category. City civil engineer Sandy Pumphrey says a lot of research went into the new flood plain maps. 

“What has happened with the modification of the maps, better survey equipment and technology equipment is in use so they can better predict what a hundred-year event would look like,” Pumphrey says.

The revisions to Linn County’s flood plain maps began in 2003, well before the historic flooding of 2008 that caused heavy damage in Cedar Rapids — and in many other Iowa communities. FEMA officials say most flood plain maps in Iowa will stay the same. Pumphrey says property owners in Cedar Rapids could save money if they buy flood insurance now. 

“If people are going into a higher-risk zone as a result of the map modifications, FEMA will look at those cases and possibly grandfather their rates,” Pumphrey says.

 Those in the flood plain who receive loans from federally-insured lending institutions will be required to buy flood insurance. The average cost of the insurance nationwide is $540 a year.