The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have partnered to highlight flood safety awareness. This is a time for individuals, families, businesses and communities to understand their risk for flooding and take precautions to protect their families and homes in the event of flooding.
In honor of this awareness effort, Hillsborough County government, and its Hazard Mitigation Program, which promotes flood prevention and awareness efforts locally, is providing information to residents on how to protect themselves and their properties from flooding:
Fast Facts on Flooding in Hillsborough County
Flooding is the most costly and repetitive natural disaster affecting Hillsborough County.
County flooding occurs not only along the coast, but along the rivers and in other inland areas, as well.
There are nearly 40,000 properties protected by flood insurance policies in Hillsborough County providing coverage of $8.2 billion.
More than $20 million in losses in Hillsborough County have been paid by the National Flood Insurance Program since 1978.
Property Flood Protection Tips
Learn if your property is in a high-risk flood zone. You can look up your property by typing in your address on the county’s online flood map.
If you own property with a structure in the high-risk flood area, know that you will most likely need a flood insurance policy. Most mortgage lenders will require that you have a policy as part of your loan agreement. Outside of high-risk areas, flood insurance is also available, usually at lower cost.
While you’re not federally required to have flood insurance in a low-to-moderate risk area, it is still a good idea. Large floods often extend beyond the boundaries of high-risk areas and smaller floods occur outside high-risk areas as well. In fact, a quarter of all flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk areas. More information about flood insurance is available by going to FEMA’s Flood Insurance
Do not place any debris - lawn trash or otherwise - in stormwater inlets, ditches or other waterways. Dumping into the drainage system can easily create blockages that result in flooding during a severe rain.
If you have flooding problems on your property, consider diverting water from your property by regrading or by constructing an earthen berm. The construction of swales (a shallow ditch) and retention areas (small, shallow depressions) are other alternatives. These methods may require permits and should be discussed with design professionals in the county’s Development Services Department at 813-272-5920.
In extreme weather events, consider using sandbagging to protect your structures in conjunction with other materials to seal openings and cracks.
If roof drainage from your home is causing a problem, consider installing gutters to help direct the runoff away from the house.
Always check with the county’s Development Services Department’s Natural Resources Section at 813-272-5920 before making changes, such as grading, filling or construction on your property.
Learn more about floodproofing improvements you can make to your structures. The County Hazard Mitigation Program has copies of design publications that may assist in floodproofing and repairing your home or business. If you live in unincorporated Hillsborough County, you also can request a staff member visit your property for more information on retrofitting, remodeling and other topics.
Contact the Hazard Mitigation Program by calling 813-307-4541.
Hillsborough County has an aggressive floodplain management plan that involves a variety of mitigation activities. These activities are reviewed on an annual basis through the National Flood Insurance Program and result in residents receiving discounted flood insurance rates. Currently, the county is within the top 3 percent of municipalities in the nation for floodplain activities. Residents within the unincorporated county receive greater than $5 million dollars combined in discounts annually on their flood insurance rates due to these efforts.
For more information on the county’s flood maps, repetitive flood loss areas, flood insurance and general tips on flood safety, visit the county’s Flood Map webpages. For information on hurricane evacuation zones and risks to storm surge, visit the county’s Emergency Information webpages.
For additional flood safety tips and information, visit www.ready.gov.