Skip To Main Content

FEMA Flood Maps


Flood zone determination for each property in Scarborough is defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA uses flood maps as a tool to indicate which areas are most at risk of being flooded in a community. They maintain and update data through their flood maps and risk assessments. The purpose of the flood maps, aside from using them to make informed decisions about how to reduce or manage risk, is to help mortgage lenders determine insurance requirements.

According to FEMA, flooding is one of the most common and costly disasters. Risk can change over time from new development, weather patterns, and other factors. The current FEMA flood maps used by the Town of Scarborough are from 1986. FEMA began a remapping process around 2012, resulting in preliminary updating flood maps in 2017. After a lengthy appeal process and map revisions for some communities, the Town of Scarborough received a Letter of Final Determination (LFD) from FEMA in December 2023, indicating June 20, 2024 as the effective date of the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) for Cumberland County.

As a coastal community, Scarborough participates in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. The NFIP works with communities required to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. Other benefits include federal flood insurance to those who have federally backed mortgages in the floodplain and eligibility for disaster funding and low interest loans when the county is in a declared disaster area. With the new FEMA flood maps going into effect, Scarborough must adopt an updated Floodplain Management Ordinance which references the new map date on or before June 20, 2024 in order to avoid being suspended from the NFIP.

Impact in Scarborough

Current Flood Zone -  1749 Properties Affected

Pending Flood Zone - 2323 Properties Affected

Properties that were not in Flood Zone that are now - 679 Newly Affected Properties

Properties that were in Flood Zone that now are not - 105 Properties Removed from Flood Zone

Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA)

Some properties will now be within the new special flood hazard areas (SFHA). An SFHA is an area with a 1% annual chance of flood that meets or exceeds that base flood elevation. There are 3 major impacts that property owners that will now be within an SFHA need to be aware of:

  • They may now be required to obtain flood insurance if they have a federally secured mortgage on their dwelling.
  • They will be subject to floodplain management standards when making improvements to their property, such as additions, remodels, new structures, or even septic system replacements.
  • They will be subject to substantial improvement/substantial damage provisions, which involves repairs or improvements to the building with a cost equal to or exceeding 50% of the market value of the building alone. At that point, the entire building will need to be brought into compliance with the floodplain management standards.

For those that were already in a SFHA, but find that their base flood elevation has increased, they may experience a rate change in their flood insurance policy, and will also be subject to floodplain management standards for any new construction or substantial improvement or substantial damage. The same can be said for any properties that were in a SFHA and experience a flood zone change. For any property owners that find they are no longer in a SFHA and wish to or are allowed by their mortgage holder to discontinue their flood insurance, they may be able to receive a prorated refund on their insurance premium for the current year only.

Letter of Map Change (LOMC) Property Owners

Also affected by the change are property owners who have been in the flood zone but submitted a request for a letter of map change (LOMC) in the past. FEMA reviewed these properties and placed them in 4 different categories for when the updated maps go into effect:

  1. LOMCs Incorporated - Will be reflected in the new FIRM and will remain in effect until then.
  2. LOMCs Not Incorporated - Will not be reflected in the new FIRM because of scale limitations or being outside the new special flood hazard areas, but will be revalidated upon the effective date of the new FIRM.
  3.  LOMCs Superseded - Will no longer be effective due to the new flood hazard information.
  4. LOMCs To Be Redetermined - Previous LOMC information will be reviewed and, if appropriate, a new determination will be made by FEMA.

There were no LOMCs in category #1 and #4. The Town has issued letters to property owners in category 3 to make them aware that their status has changed and, in most cases, they will now find their property in a special flood hazard area and be subject to the regulatory requirements in the Floodplain Management Ordinance. Properties in category 2 will not be impacted as their LOMC will be revalidated free of charge 1 day after the new FIRM becomes effective. This only involves properties that, in years past, applied for and received a LOMC.


2017: FEMA delivers preliminary flood maps

2018: Town of Scarborough and neighboring communities submit appeals of the preliminary flood maps

2019: FEMA denies Scarborough’s appeal as well as all communities in Cumberland and York Counties, except South Portland and Old Orchard Beach

December 2023: Scarborough receives letter of Final Map Determination from FEMA indicating that flood hazard determinations are now considered final, and that NFIP communities must adopt the new Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Maps by the effective date of June 20, 2024.

January 2024: Scarborough receives letter from State of Maine regarding rollout requirements for the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) for Cumberland County, effective June 20, 2024.

Timeline for Adoption

  • March 20, 2024: Town Council Workshop (See Agenda)
  • April 3, 2024: Town Council First Reading of Ordinance
  • April 16, 2024: Planning Board Public Hearing
  • May 1, 2024: Town Council Public Hearing
  • May 15, 2024: Town Council Second Reading and Adoption of Ordinance
  • June 20, 2024: Ordinance and Maps Effective Date


Using FEMA Interactive Flood Maps

Use the FEMA flood map to identify properties in the flood zones. Properties can also be searched by Owner Name, Street Address, and Assessors Parcel Number.

Select Layers

If either the parcel viewer or advanced parcel viewer is selected, the flood maps can be seen by selecting “Flood Zones” under the “Layer” tab. Once the Flood Zones box is checked, the new FIRMs will be the default setting.

Find a Property

Using the search bar to type in the desired address, anyone can go directly to their location of choice to see if the buildings on the property are within the new special flood hazard areas (SFHA).


Special flood hazard areas (SFHAs) will have a designation “AE”, “VE”, or “A”, followed by a number (ex. “AE12”). The letters designate the type of SFHA and the number is the base flood elevation (BFE).

SFHA: An area with a 1% annual chance of flood that meets or exceeds that base flood elevation.

BFE: An elevation that is referenced to specific vertical geographic datum, with 0 ft. being at approximately sea level.

AE Zones: Areas that are subject to flooding by inundation

VE Zones: “Velocity” zones that are subject to wave run up and storm surge, which in turn causes flooding, and can also cause significant structural damage to buildings that are not designed to withstand those forces.

If only interested in knowing if the property is in a SFHA, the “FEMA Map” viewer may be a simpler tool. There is a search bar in the upper right hand corner to type the property address, which will take the user to the general location, and then a simple scrolling in with the mouse will display the type of SFHA and the aerial view of the property.


Frequently Asked Questions

Public Engagement

Town Council Workshop: FEMA Flood Map Changes

Wednesday, March 20 at 5:30pm
Council Chambers at Scarborough Town Hall
View YouTube Recording

Public Open House for Cumberland County

Monday, May 13, 2024 from 3:00-7:00pm
South Portland City Hall, Council Chambers, 2nd Floor
25 Cottage Rd, South Portland

The Maine Floodplain Management Program and FEMA will jointly host a public open house in Cumberland County.  New FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) will go effective on June 20, 2024. Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States so it is vital for property owners to understand their risk and how it may be changing with the release of new FIRMs. If you think you may be in a flood zone or are unclear how you may be affected, you may choose to attend the open house.  No formal presentations will be made and no appointment is necessary. You may drop by any time during the hours shown below.

Representatives from FEMA, the State, mapping partners, and grants staff will be available to answer flood risk, insurance, and grant questions. Staff can also help property owners identify and understand how their risk may be changing. Property owners are encouraged to bring their elevation certificates and/or flood insurance policies to the event in order to get the best information about how their flood insurance rates may change as a result of the new mapping and legislative insurance reforms.

If you are unable to attend an open house and you need assistance, please contact your local code official or the Floodplain Management Program at the Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry:

Sue Baker, State Coordinator (207) 287-8063 or
Janet Parker, Planner, (207) 287-9981 or