The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to release the latest preliminary working flood maps for Cape May County on Monday.

The county is among the last counties in the state to have the controversial Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps upgraded to the most recent data. The advisory maps were released in December and the agency considered them to be more conservative in terms of potential flood risk than the preliminary maps.

FEMA began upgrading flood maps in New Jersey and other states in 2009 as part of a $600 million project. Flood insurance rate maps currently in effect for insurance purposes relied on data collected in the 1970s and have not had substantial revisions since the 1980s.

Following Hurricane Sandy, the agency released the advisory maps to give homeowners an idea of how they may need to rebuild their storm-damaged houses. New Jersey adopted the maps, which were considered the "best available data" in January, as the state standard for rebuilding.

However, the advisory maps dramatically increased the highest risk velocity zones, which require homeowners to build their houses on piling foundations in order to secure the lowest insurance rates.

The preliminary work maps are the latest step in FEMA's process to adopt new flood insurance rate maps.

To view the latest flood maps, go to www.region2coastal.com.

Sarah Watson

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