With all the forecast of an El Niño winter ahead, home owners and prospective buyers should be informed about the new flood maps that have been released.  The new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) are available online and go into effect beginning Wednesday, November 4, 2015.  The new FEMA maps are the result of a multi-year study of the cities creeks and tributaries using advanced mapping techniques and will affect the need and cost of flood insurance.  Some homes and property owners will no longer require flood insurance, while others may need to purchase it for the first time.  For more information as well as copies of the past and current maps, you can visit the city of Santa Barbara website here