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Are You Prepared for a Flood?

Flooded streets of a residential neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as seen on the morning after Hurricane Irma comes through the city.Are you living in a flood zone? Are you prepared if a flood occurs? Do you have or need flood insurance?

Flooding is a temporary overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop.

Flooding is one of Florida’s most frequent hazards. It can occur anytime of the year. It can occur without warning or over a period of days. There are many things that can cause flooding including storm surge, river flooding, heavy rainfall, low lying or poorly drained areas, high tides and rising sea levels.

Starting in October, thousands of South Florida property owners could be at risk, and not just those located in coastal areas, but those in our western regions. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has finalized the new flood hazard zone maps, and property owners and residents can go to their county’s website to learn whether their flood hazard classifications have changed or they can search by address on FEMA’s Website at https://msc.fema.gov/portal.

Many homeowners in the newly designated high-risk flood areas who have federally backed mortgages will be required to buy flood insurance. If you have questions on whether you are in a flood zone or considered high risk, you should contact your county or your city’s building or zoning department.

Basic Flood Safety Tips

  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! ®
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
  • Do not drive over bridges that are over fast-moving floodwaters. Floodwaters can scour foundation material from around the footings and make the bridge unstable.
  • Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.
  • Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.

FEMA Flood Resources: