Sun-Sentinel – June 7, 2006:

The federal government is refusing to make public maps that show detailed diagrams of where flood waters would extend if Lake Okeechobee breached specific points of its earthen dike, citing concerns about a terrorist attack.

Corps spokeswoman Nancy Regalado said: “We just don’t believe there’s a great need for the public to have them because we’re giving the information to the (emergency coordinators) and they’re the ones that would translate the information into an evacuation plan.”

This has nothing to do with keeping information out of the hands of terrorists. It’s all about keeping property values high. Here’s the key quote:

Releasing the maps could also lead to unnecessary hysteria for the people who live in the potential flood zone, she said.

In other words, a bunch of residents might decide to sell after learning they were living in a flood plain, causing property values to sink. Isn’t the free-market supposed to work with an informed buyer and seller?! And since when it is the government’s job to keep us ignorant over matters directly concerning us?!



  1. Eideard says:

    I wonder how local banks will deal with this?

    Mortgage regulations require flood insurance if a home is built in a flood plain, nowadays. Banks aren’t allowed to grant mortgages without it.

  2. James Hill says:

    Interesting post, and I tend to agree that this is about Ft. Lauderdale (hint, hint) home prices than anything.

    As for the bank question, flood insurance is regulated by the government. It’s required for many homes in Florida, but not as many as you’d think. All a mortgage company has to do is say “Am I in a flood zone?” to the government, and the government only has to say yes or no. They don’t have to say which flood plain. Flood insurance is then paid at a standard rate, and that is that.

  3. Dale Huber says:

    Just a note, while the article is from the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, any breach of Lake Okeechobee would have no flooding impact on Ft. Lauderdale. The Lake is in NW Palm Beach County. The water levels in the glades would increase but there would be no flood waters in Broward County.

  4. Eideard says:

    Of course, I think folks are loony to build within a flood plain, anyway. Technically, our home is within the boundaries of a flood plain — but, we’re not only 26′ above what passes for a river in New Mexico, we’re 26′ above grade in a valley a quarter-mile wide.

    We had a “thousand-year” flood about 10 years ago and the water made it to our fence line — even though the river went from 6′ wide to 100′ wide behind our back meadow. Still, if you’re getting a mortgage and the bank says you’re paying for flood insurance — and you don’t ask questions — that’s your own fault.

  5. kissthering says:

    This is just ignorant, I am a geographical information systems analist and I’ll tell you that anyone with a little bit of knowledge of maps can figure out the flood plain with very little effort. All it takes is a little bit of data that can be downloaded for free from web sites like gisdatadepot.com or a states department of natural resources web site.

  6. Mike Voice says:

    Lovely.

    They don’t want people to panic, but the only info they release is the “doom & gloom” stuff??

    They “reluctantly” show reporters one map of possible flooding – and that just happens to be the worst case imaginable?

    “…if the lake were at 21 feet in a major hurricane…”

    While:

    The corps has stressed that massive flooding and major breaches are highly unlikely since the scenario would require lake levels to be well above 17 feet, and water is removed from the lake ahead of any approaching storm. On Wednesday, the lake sat at 12.5 feet.

    Is that the only map they let reporters see, because it was the only map that showed significant flooding?

    Idiots!

  7. ECA says:

    Umm…

    Why not just use a cheap altimeter.
    Walk down tot he waters edge, and measure it….Then try your HOME location…Odds are if you are within 1 miles, you will be swamped if there is no elevation change.

    http://www.dep.state.fl.us/geology/gisdatamaps/ms146_geology_of_fl.pdf

    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/UW208
    And this last on may scare you out of Florida..

  8. ECA says:

    http://nmviewogc.cr.usgs.gov/viewer.htm

    Have fun, more info then you ever wanted.. in map form.

  9. Mike Voice says:

    Thanks, ECA.

    Homeland Security will probably pull those sites now…

    From the article: …citing concerns about a terrorist attack.

    Them why let them know to wait until the water is over 17-feet deep??

    I guess New Orleans is toast, since everyone knows about how shaky its’ levees are, and Hurricane season is just starting. How could the terrorists pass that up?

  10. ECA says:

    WELL,
    looking at the map, 2/3′s USEd to be swamp…
    Releaseing any water from it would Flow in a direct line, and disperse, quickly, as theis is ALL FLAT plains.. 1-2 miles would be the worst hit..

    BUT, considering all the Hurricanes that hit Florida, I would suggest ONLY living in concrete homes..

  11. Steph says:

    you’ve got to be fucking kidding me! a possible TERRORIST ATTACK???!!! the governement is pulling that one out of it’s ass to control us a little too much now.

    and please excuse the cussing. it’s almost 11am and i still haven’t had any coffee.

  12. Xeros Nine says:

    I am a land surveyor and i surveyed the lake and surrounding indian burrial middens and let me tell you if those earthen supports fail in or next to indian town.. the whole town would be done for.
    probably most the way to lauderdale.