"The changes stem from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's multiyear plan to digitize its Flood Insurance Rate Maps to make them more accurate and easier to update.
New flood maps go into effect this month in 123 communities in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin. By 2010, about 92% of the population and 65% of the land in the USA will be covered by the maps, FEMA says.
The maps are the official record of the country's flood zones. The federal government requires properties in flood zones that have federally backed mortgages to carry flood insurance, FEMA spokesman Simon Chabel said. Mortgage companies also use the maps and can make flood insurance a condition for a loan."