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State Working To Improve Floodplain Maps

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RALEIGH, N.C. — During Hurricane Floyd, areas of North Carolina were underwater: places that hadn't flooded in 500 years. Many people had no idea that the water would reach their homes and businesses, but the state is working to fix that.

The state is re-doing all of its maps using technology called LIDAR -- light detection and ranging. It works like radar except it uses a pulse of light to detect the elevation of the earth's surface.

"A little more detail, more accurate information. I think it will save lives and we won't have repetitive losses from flooding." said John Dorman, director of floodplain mapping.

Many people could not believe the devastation caused by Hurricane Floyd in part because the old floodplain maps were 25 to 40 feet off. Using the new maps, it will be easier to find your town and see where it is in relation to the floodplain.

"Flooding is the only disaster that is man-made. Flooding occurs only on us if we build in that area, so I think with mitigation and smart building using this information, we will hopefully reduce that," Dorman said.

Soon, you will be able to access the new floodplain maps online. The first set of maps will be available in November. The entire project will be finished in 2005. The estimated price tag for the new maps is $70 million.


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