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Floodplain Management
Availability of Flood Zone Information

If you want to know if a property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area for unincorporated Flagler County, you can go online at the Flagler County Property Appraisers web site, once the address is verified click on the grey show parcel maps button.  When the map is displayed click the flood zone box at the menu on the left.  You can find the official Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for your property through the FEMA Map Service Center and access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.

The Planning and Zoning Department also provides Flood Zone Information, and may be able to provide copies of Elevation Certificates (EC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Letters Of Map Amendments (LOMA) for existing structures.  Check our website at http://www.flaglercounty.org/index.aspx?nid=139, you will find a wealth of information about the County’s Flood Insurance Rate Map, coastal high hazard areas, flood depths at your property, natural conservation areas and wetlands, flood insurance, special rules for building in the floodplain, and ideas for protecting your property from flood damage. Or you can call the CRS Coordinator with all of your floodplain questions at 386-313-4009 fax 386-313-4109, email . We also have copies of FEMA Elevation Certificates on all buildings constructed or substantially improved in the floodplain since January 2012.


Flood Protection Information

Flooding is an act of nature which respects no boundary lines, either community or personal. Floodwater can cover many blocks with water depths up to four or five feet and can come with little warning. Flooding in Flagler County may be caused by two sources: the Intracoastal Waterway overflowing its banks during severe storms and/or high tide and by an unexpected downpour of rain such as we experienced in May of 2009 during the unnamed storm event.

Your property may have been high enough so that it was not flooded during the unnamed storm, but it can still be flooded in the future because the next storm could be worse.

Flood maps and flood protection references are available at the Flagler County Public Library in Palm Coast. You can also visit the Growth Management Department at the Government Services Building to see where your property is located with respect to the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). FEMA has a Flood Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov/portal FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Use the MSC to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.  The Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) are also available for your view at the County Offices and the Flagler County Public Library. We also have information regarding flood zone elevation, minimum elevations required for new construction and handouts for selecting a contractor for flood damage repairs.

If requested, the Development Engineer will visit your property to review its flood problems and explain ways to stop flooding or prevent flood damage.


Flood Basics

A floodplain is the lowland adjacent to a river, lake or ocean. Floodplains are designated by the frequency of the flood that is large enough to cover them. For example, the 10-year floodplain will be covered by the 10-year flood and the 100-year floodplain by the 100-year flood.

Flood frequencies, such as the "100-year flood," are determined by plotting a graph of the size of all known floods for an area and determining how often floods of a particular size occur.  Another way of expressing the flood frequency is the chance of occurrence in a given year, which is the percentage of the probability of flooding each year.  For example, the 100-year flood has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year.

Dams, levees, channels, storm water projects and other protective works are designed to provide protection against some specific level of flooding. The "level of protection" is selected based on cost, desire of the community, potential damage, environmental impact, and other factors.  Engineers can design and construct levees, dams and other measures providing a very high level of protection. Communities tend to choose lower levels of protection because of the initial financial cost rather than overall costs and benefits.

The National Flood Insurance Program has established a de facto minimum standard of protection against the 100-year flood. This is a relatively low level of protection. For example, there is a 26% chance that a levee or channel designed to contain the 100-year flood will be at that design capacity at least once over a 30 year period.  All residents and businesses in areas vulnerable to flooding should have flood insurance.


Homeowner insurance policies DO NOT cover damage from rising water

There is a wide range of measures that can be used to protect against flooding. They may be grouped in various ways, such as:

  • Structural and nonstructural measures.
  • Whether they are most suitable for protecting:
    • individual structures or
    • areas containing multiple structures and communities.
  • Whether their purpose is to:
    • modify the flood or
    • reduce susceptibility to flooding; and/or
    • reduce the impact of flooding.

Multiple measures are usually needed to provide protection to an area.

Most of the known floodplains in the U.S. have been mapped by the Flood Insurance Administration, one of the parts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. These identified areas account for about 60% of flood insurance claims. The remaining 40% of the claims occur in areas not previously recognized as being vulnerable to flooding, and are generally not located near a river or other water body. Settling Your Insurance Claim [PDF]

The National Weather Service is responsible for warning the public of the possibility of flooding. Flood predictions generally are made at the regional "River Forecast Center". There are several different warning messages that may be issued, based upon the conditions and/or probability of flooding.


Flood Warning System

Flagler County has an agreement with other municipalities that addresses the need for coordination of the emergency management plans of all communities and for prompt dissemination of information concerning storms and flooding.

Flagler County Emergency Information line is (386) 313-4200 or Flagler County TV Channel 198 and the City of Palm Coast Emergency line is (386) 986-3700 or Palm Coast Municipal Access TV Channel 199.

Local television and radio stations also provide information as they have representatives on the emergency response teams who are located at command centers during emergencies. The Official Emergency Public Information for local television channels and radio stations are as follow:

Television:

  • Channel 2 – Orlando WESH – NBC
  • Channel 6 – Orlando WKMG – CBS
  • Channel 9 – Orlando WFTV – ABC
  • Channel 35 – Orlando WOFH – FOX
  • Channel 13 – Orlando – Brighthouse


Radio:

  • Black Crow Broadcasting Stations Network, WNDB 1150 AM, WHOG 95.7 FM, WKRO 93.1 FM, and WVYB 103.3 FM
  • WNZF 1550 AM/106.3 FM
  • Beach 92.7 FM

Flood Insurance

If you do not have flood insurance, contact your insurance agent, as homeowner's insurance policies do not normally cover damage from floods. However, Flagler County is applying to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System program, you may be able to in the future purchase a separate flood insurance policy at a reduced rate. This type of insurance is backed by the Federal Government and is available to everyone, even if your property has never been flooded or is not in a special flood hazard area. Homeowners may also want to include your house contents, as most policies do not cover the contents such as furniture. Renters should buy flood insurance for their contents.


Flood Safety

Before the Storm

If your home is well constructed, and local authorities have not called for evacuation, stay home and make emergency preparations. If told to evacuate, follow all instructions from local authorities and follow safe evacuation routes to shelter. Your personal evacuation plan should provide for your pets, your personal emergency supplies (food, medicine, first aid kit, battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, etc.) and insurance papers. When evacuating, take property identification and important personal papers and documents with you.

During and After the Storm

If you are in a public shelter, remain there until informed by those in charge that it is safe to leave and return home. Oftentimes, people are injured immediately after a storm due to unsafe buildings, downed power lines, contaminated water, moving debris and other dangerous conditions. Carefully check for structural damage prior to entering a building after a storm. Use caution when entering the structure, turn electricity on one breaker at a time and watch for smoke or sparks. Report broken sewer and water lines to the Utility Division at 386-313-4192.

Also, during a flood, the following safety measures should be taken to prevent further personal and property damage:

  • Do Not Walk Through Flowing Water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Six inches of water can knock you off of your feet. If you must walk in standing or flowing water, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there.
  • Do Not Drive Through Flooded Areas. Many people drown in their cars. Don't drive around road barriers; the road may be washed out.
  • Stay Away From Power Lines and Electrical Wires. The second flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to FPL or the County Public Works Department (386) 313-4136.
  • Have Your Electricity Turned Off By The Power Company. Some appliances, such as television sets, keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Don't use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned and dried.
  • Look Out For Small Animals, Especially Snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over to scare away small animals and snakes.
  • Look Before You Step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be slippery.
  • Be Alert For Gas Leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Never smoke or use candles, lanterns, matches or open flames unless you know the gas has been properly turned off and the entire area has been ventilated.
  • Carbon Monoxide Exhaust Kills. Use a generator or other gasoline-powered equipment outdoors. The same goes for cooking stoves. Charcoal fumes are especially deadly and should be outdoors.
  • Clean Everything That Got Wet. Flood waters have picked up sewage and chemicals from roads, commercial properties and storage buildings. Spoiled food, flooded cosmetics, and medicines can be health hazards. When in doubt, throw it out.

Flood Protection

Flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other type of natural disaster. While recent construction practices and regulations have made new homes less prone to flooding, many existing structures remain susceptible. Throughout the country there is a growing interest in developing practical and cost effective methods for reducing or eliminating exposures to flooding hazards.

There are several ways to protect your building from flood damage. One way is to keep the water away by re-grading your lot or by constructing a small floodwall or earthen berm. These methods work if your lot is large enough, if flooding is not too deep and if your property is not in the floodway. Approval from the County Engineer must be obtained for this work.

You can make your walls waterproof and place watertight closures under the doorways. This method is not recommended for houses with basements or if water will get over two feet deep.

Another approach is "wet floodproofing" or retrofitting to modify the structure and relocate the contents so that when floodwaters enter the building there is little or no damage.

The Building Department and the Flagler County Public Library have information available regarding flood protection.


Permits and Substantial Improvement Requirements

Always contact the County Building Department (386) 313–4002 before you alter, re-grade, fill, or build on your property. A permit is needed to ensure that projects do not cause flooding problems on your property or anyone else's property. New buildings in the floodplain must be protected from flood damage. The County Land Development Code requires that new buildings within the special flood hazard areas be elevated at least one foot above the base flood elevation.

Substantial improvements include any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cumulative cost of which equals or exceeds fifty (50) percent of the market value of the structure before the "start of construction" of the improvement. This term includes structures that have incurred "substantial damage" regardless of the actual repair work performed. This term does not, however, include any repair or improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of State of Florida or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications, which have been identified by the local code enforcement official prior to the application for permit for improvement, and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions.


Drainage System Maintenance

Flagler County makes inspections, maintains all ditches and canals in the unincorporated areas and has maintenance contracts in effect for aquatic weed control. The Public Works Department (386) 313-4136 inspects and maintains all swales.

You can help the County with its drainage system maintenance program by following these measures:

  • Do not dump or throw anything into the ditches or canals. Dumping in our ditches or canals is a violation of County Ordinances. Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and block stormwater flow. A plugged ditch or canal cannot carry water and when it rains the water needs to go somewhere. Every piece of trash contributes to flooding.
  • Keep everything out of storm drains except for rainwater runoff. Do not put anything down a storm drain that you would not want to drink or swim in.
  • If your property is next to a ditch or canal, please do your part and keep the banks clear of brush or debris. The Countyy has a ditch and canal maintenance program which can help remove major blockages such as downed trees.
  • Check downspouts to ensure they are draining away from the house.
  • If you see dumping or debris in the ditches or canals, contact the Public Works Department at (386) 313-4136

Natural and Beneficial Functions

Floodplains provide for the natural moderation of floods, the maintenance of water quality and the recharge of groundwaters. They support large and diverse populations of plants and animals. The wetland areas of floodplains are biologically productive because they contain certain aquatic habitats and provide vital breeding grounds for fish and wildlife. Floodplains contain cultural resources including archeological and historical sites, unique habitats for ecological study, open space and recreation opportunities. Aesthetic and other tangible attributes of floodplains have important social and economic values. Under natural conditions, a flood causes little or no damage. Nature ensures that floodplain flora and fauna can survive the more frequent inundations.

Several stormwater retention areas have been installed throughout the County which draw stormwater from the adjacent subdivisions and store it until absorbed back into the ground.


Floodplain Management

Floodplain management is the operation of a community program of corrective and preventative measures for reducing flood damage. These measures take a variety of forms and generally include zoning, subdivision, or building requirements, and special-purpose floodplain ordinances (FEMA).

Flagler County’s involvement in floodplain management can modify susceptibility to flood damage and guide development in a manner that takes into account flood hazards and the natural characteristics of the floodplain. Preparedness plans and programs provide for pre-disaster mitigation, warning and emergency operations. Training at all levels, public information activities and readiness evaluations are all tools available.

As a public service, the County will provide you with the following upon request:

  • Whether a property is in or out of the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as shown on the current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) of the City. The current FIRM became effective on July 17, 2006.
  • Additional flood insurance data for a site, such as the FIRM zone, panel number, community identification number (CID) and the base flood elevation or depth, if shown on the FIRM.
  • Various Floodplain Management handouts to include handouts on the flood insurance purchase requirement that can help people who need a mortgage or loan for a property in the SFHA.
  • Floodplain Management information on the County website www.flaglercounty.org
  • Copies of completed Elevation Certificates for most structures in the special flood hazard area constructed after 2014
  • Flood protection assistance
Certified Floodplain Manager available upon request to answer questions and provide information.

Emergency Management Plan
Flagler County Emergency Services http://www.flagleremergency.com/ works with the National Weather Service, and the National Hurricane Center to monitor flood and storm threats and advise the community accordingly. When a storm or flood threatens to impact the County, county staff monitors the event, relying on information from the National Weather Service for detailed and site specific information regarding storm conditions and flood threats. The National Weather Service issues updates, warnings and evacuation notices.

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