FEMA saves money for Lake of the Ozarks residents

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OSAGE BEACH – Lake of the Ozark residents could soon see relief in their high prices of flood insurance as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region VII looks to update the local flood maps.

FEMA Risk Analysis Branch Chief Richard Leonard said the amount of recent flooding in the tributaries, branch rivers off the main lake, have decreased. 

“The good news is almost everywhere on the tributaries, where the issues are, the flood discharges are going down and if the amount of flow goes down the amount of flooding goes down.” Leonard said.

The flood map issue became a problem in 2014 when Osage Beach residents and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer expressed a desire for FEMA to reassess its flood maps.

Leonard said residents are excited about seeing a change in flood maps.

“The general consensus was that the people were pleased with the updates and they were positive with the plan moving forward.” He said.

But, one long time business owner and resident says officials should be careful about making the map changes.

"I have lived around here for a long time and I know people prefer to live with less regulations and ordinances, so I think the officials in charge of this might be forgetting about those who are happy with the current flood maps," said Jeff Surdyke. "I have seen flooding first hand, I remember sand bagging my parents old house and let me tell you, whether you have flood insurance or not, flooding is always terrible," he said.

FEMA will continue to conduct land surveys and collect data before releasing the new maps.

Leonard say the official maps are expected to be put into place in Dec. of 2017.

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