Florida Hazards Watch - Floods
Flooding is one of Florida's most frequent hazards. It is a coast to coast threat that can occur at any time of the year.
What is your Community's flood risk?
There are different reasons a community may flood; storm surge, river flooding or heavy rainfall. Low-lying or poorly drained areas can also increase a community's flood risk. To protect yourself, learn what flood threats affect your community.
- Determine if there are rivers or creeks that flood frequently.
- Is your home located in a low-lying area?
- Determine your home's elevation.
Due to the relatively flat terrain across Florida, it is complicated to drain accumulated water. When rivers rise, water tends to spread out far from riverbanks. In the case of the 1997-98 El Niño floods, rising rivers and repeated periods of heavy rainfall combined to pool water over land miles away from rivers. In fact, normally small rivers turned into vast lakes.
Pooling of water poses a significant risk, not as much from swift moving water, but more from ones inability to judge water depth. Water only inches deep can be next to water that is several feet deep.
Obtain or review the flood map for your area. You can get your overall flood risk at www.floodsmart.gov and enter your address. Your official FEMA flood zone map can be found online at FEMA's Map Service Center, or through your property appraiser's office.
Where Can You Go For Up-To-Date Info?
Rainfall and Flooding Outlooks
Current Radar and Radar Estimated Rainfall Totals
River Flooding Outlooks and maps
How Do I Keep Myself and My Family Safe During a Flood?
Before the flood reaches your area:
- Know if floodwaters might affect your home and property. Know your elevation above flood stage.
- Develop a flood emergency action plan.
- Evacuate immediately, if advised to do so. Bring important documents with you.
- Move to a safe area before access is cut off.
- Keep abreast of road conditions through the news media.
- Do not attempt to cross flowing water.
During the flood:
- Avoid areas subject to flooding.
- Never drive through flooded roadways.
- Do not drive around barricades, they are there for your protection.
- If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately.
- Never try to walk through or allow children to play around flood water.
After the flood:
- Do not visit disaster areas, your presence may hamper emergency operations.
- Throw out food that has come into contact with the floodwater and boil drinking water before using it.
- Stay out of buildings that remain in flood waters.
- Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas.
- If the power is out, use flashlights to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.
- Report broken utilities to the correct authorities.
Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Do not make assumptions. Check your policy.
The National Flood Insurance Program, is a pre-disaster flood mitigation and insurance protection program. The National Flood Insurance Program makes federally backed flood insurance available to residents and business owners National Flood Insurance Program call 1-888-CALL-FLOOD ext. 445, TDD# 1-800-427-5593.
Flood Myth vs. Fact
Myth: A 100-year flood only occurs every 100 years.
Fact: The 100-year flood is a climactic average; there is a 1% chance that a 100-year flood will occur in any given year.
Myth: Flash floods only occur along flowing streams.
Fact: Flash floods can occur in urban areas where no streams are present.
Myth: Flash floods occur mainly in the late afternoon and evening.
Fact: Many flash floods occur at night.
Myth: Larger vehicles, such as SUVs and pickup trucks are safe to drive through flood waters.
Fact: Two feet of water can carry away most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks.
Flooded Roadway Facts
- Nearly half of all people killed in floods are those who try driving through flooded areas.
- Once your vehicle is lifted off the road by high water, it can easily be pushed sideways. Most vehicles will then tend to roll over, trapping those inside.
- Water can erode the road bed, creating unsafe driving conditions.
- Underpasses can fill rapidly with water. Driving into a flooded underpass can quickly put you in five to six feet of water.
- There is no guarantee that the road still exists under the water, or that the roadbed hasn't been undercut by the flood waters, just waiting for a little additional weight to make it collapse.
- IF YOU CANNOT SEE THE BOTTOM OF THE FLOODED SECTION, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS IT!
February 25, 2016 11:36