SUFFOLK -- Suffolk will hold a public open house in May to allow residents to review newly released updates to coastal flood maps.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency released preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps in December, which insurance companies use to determine flood insurance rates for buildings and contents.

For the first time, some Suffolk buildings may now be included in a high-risk flood zone. This may result in mandatory purchase of flood insurance for those property owners who are affected.

'The primary changes that've appeared have been mostly in elevation. Some of our upper reaches, the mouth of the Nansemond River, along the James River, Chuckatuck Creek, and our VE flood zones, which are our wave energy zones.' Scott Mills, Director of Planning and Community Development for the city of Suffolk said.

Mills said there is no exact number yet on how many people are affected by the changes.

Residents and property owners are encouraged to learn more about their flood risk and the updates shown on the preliminary maps, given that flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States.

Representatives from the state, city, as well as FEMA and their mapping partners, will be available to answer flood risk and insurance questions.

The City of Suffolk is required to adopt updated maps to continue participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes flood insurance available to the community.

The open house will be held at King's Fork Middle School, 350 Kings Fork Road, on May 14 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Additional information is available at and preliminary FIRM maps can be viewed at

Residents with additional questions can contact the City of Suffolk Planning & Community Development Department at 757-514-4060 or

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