Editorial Board, Citrus County Chronicle, Nov. 9, 2018

For years, people who lived near the coast, but not on it, felt confident that flooding wouldn’t be an issue for them. But residents on the west side of Citrus County know differently now. In 2016, Hermine flooded areas that surprised even long-time locals, including U.S. 19 in some areas looking less like a road and more like a canal — complete with kayakers.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identify risk levels, categorized by zone. The zone directly on the water is called the VE Zone, which has the highest risk of flooding as well additional hazards from waves of 3-plus feet. The next zone, which encompasses many near-coast buildings, is called the AE Zone. It also has flooding risks, but until recently was not thought to be at risk for wave action. Flood insurance is required by lenders in both those zones. The minimal-risk zone is called X.

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