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Arts & Life

Kansas City Residents Can Check FEMA Maps For '500-Year' Flood Paths

090117_cj_1951_flood_fairfax_and_airport_missouri_valley_special_collections.jpg
Missouri Valley Special Collections
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Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
Flood-control efforts in Kansas City have improved since the historic 1951 flood. Pictured here are the Fairfax Industrial District and the airport that year.

While many eyes remain on recovery and damage assessment in Texas and Louisiana in the literal wake of Hurricane Harvey, some residents of the Kansas  City metro — who've seen unusual amounts of rainfall and dangerous flooding this summer — are growing more concerned about the possibility of unprecedented floods.

Earlier this week, Kansas City Council members Scott Taylor and Kevin McManus, who represent constituents along Indian Creek in south Kansas City, called for a regional approach to flood control. This comes after decades, and hundreds of millions of dollars, already spent on flood-control efforts in Kansas City, Missouri.

Meanwhile, area residents can gauge their vulnerability by viewing FEMA's Flood-Hazard maps. The maps show street-level details about potential "hundred-year" flooding (areas designed on the map as "1% annual flood chance hazard") or five-hundred year floods ("0.2% annual chance flood hazard") as well as areas with reduced risks due to levee construction (for the map legend and additional details, and to search other places, click here):


 
What also might be helpful is doing away with the concept of 100-year floods altogether. As news articles this week have had to explain: a "100-year" event has a 1-in-100 chance of happening in a single year; a "500-year" event has a 1-in-500 chance of happening in a single year.
 
C.J. Janovy is an arts reporter for KCUR 89.3. You can find her on Twitter, @cjjanovy.

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