New Flood Maps Proposed by FEMA for Hays County

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the State of Texas, and local communities and counties, have released preliminary flood maps for public review and comment.  These preliminary flood maps—known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs)—are providing updated flood risk information for many areas in Hays County and along San Marcos River in Caldwell, Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Hays Counties. In Hays County, the flood hazard study includes areas along the Blanco and San Marcos Rivers, and many tributaries as well as Onion Creek, Barton Creek, Bear Creek and their tributaries.  Property owners are encouraged to view the maps at to see the specific areas being remapped and how they may be affected.   

These new flood maps will show residents and business owners how their flood risks may have changed and help them make more informed decisions about buying flood insurance. Community leaders use these new flood maps to make decisions about future building and development. Everyone is encouraged to know their flood risk.

Hays County will hold two open houses on the proposed changes to the FIRM.

Tuesday, August, 22, 2017
Wimberley Community Center
14068 Ranch Road 12, Wimberly, Texas 78676
2:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Thursday, August 24, 2017
San Marcos Activity Center
501 East Hopkins Street, San Marcos, Texas 78666
2:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Outside of Hays County there is an open house in Luling, Texas.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Zedler Mill
1179 South Laurel Avenue, Luling, Texas 78648
2:00 pm to 7:00 pm 

Attendees will have access to the online, interactive maps during the Open House. They will also have the opportunity to ask representatives from the State, Hays County, as well as FEMA and their mapping partners, any floodplain and flood insurance questions. There will be no formal presentation; so come at your convenience

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in Texas; and it is vital that property owners understand their risk and take advantage of tools or programs available to them, including flood insurance. The proposed maps are an update of the existing FIRM, which uses data that is over 30 years old. Since then, drainage patterns have changed, there has been new development, and technology and modeling techniques have greatly improved.

As a result of these map changes, some buildings in HAYS COUNTY may, for the first time, be included in a high-risk flood zone, known as the Special Flood Hazard Area. Others may see an increase in the Base Flood Elevation (the projected elevation to which floodwaters will rise in a major flood).  And others may actually see their flood risk reduced.  Plan to come to the Open House to see how you may be affected.

For those unable to attend the meeting, maps are available at

The recently released flood maps are still preliminary; they are set to become effective in late 2018. At that time, any related flood insurance requirements will also take effect. The map adoption process includes community meetings and a review of citizen concerns.

Some property owners may feel that even though part of the property is in a high-risk area, the house or commercial structure itself sits high enough to warrant a lower flood insurance rate.

An owner wishing to challenge the new designation must prove the structure is sufficiently above the elevation at which a major flood would reach (known as the base flood elevation). For more details on the appeals and comment process, visit

June 2015 - Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) maps provided and public meetings held
June 2017 - Preliminary flood maps released
August 2017 - Open House Meetings Held; Public Review
Fall 2017* - Start of 90-day Public Comment Period (for filing of appeals and comments)
Late 2018* - New flood maps take effect; new flood insurance requirements also take effect

*Date subject to change pending completion of review process

FEMA Flood Map Brochure
 FEMA Open House Pic