As we all know, Florida’s climate means that we often see major rain events and tropical systems that can significantly impact each of our lives. The following information that may assist you in the evaluation of the potential risk of flooding for your property and help you better prepare, or mitigate flooding on your property. Click here for a two page flyer on the ten (10) Topics for Flood Protection to share with your community.
SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREA (SFHA). Flooding is primarily caused by heavy rains associated with intense summer thunderstorms and tropical systems as well as coastal tropical storm surge. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) shows the SFHA or 100-year floodplain where risk of flooding is increased. The SFHA is located primarily near the Myakkahatchee Creek, along the Myakka River and along the city’s retention ditches and canals. In these areas, floodwaters can cover streets and yards with little warning. Past rain events have flooded major roadways such as Sumter Boulevard, local roads in the North Port Estates, along the Myakkahatchee creek near I-75 and the Jockey Club.
Be advised, however, that flooding could possibly occur anywhere in the City, depending on the storm intensity. The City continues to pursue options to upgrade its stormwater system to better handle such situations. Even if property has not flooded in the past, there is a possibility that a future storm may result in a different outcome. The following are some actions to learn more about flood issues and how to protect yourself and your property.
MAP OF THE FLOOD HAZARD. The current effective FIRMs are dated as of November 4, 2016, however FEMA has released updated preliminary flood maps on December 31, 2019. To see the current effective maps or the updated preliminary maps, visit our FEMA Flood Maps Update page.
The City’s Building Division of the Neighborhood Development Services Department can advise on construction techniques for flood protection and provide elevation certificates for property if available from past permitting activities. Public Works can provide assistance in flood zone determination and flood insurance requirements. If you would like Public Works to provide the flood zone in writing to you, please complete the flood information request form here, scan the form and email it to email@example.com. You can also mail/drop off the form at the Public Works facility.
PURCHASE FLOOD INSURANCE. Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. The City participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which allows federally funded flood insurance to be available, even if property has flooded in the past. If a house is flooded without flood insurance, any damage below the waterline will not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. If you are already covered by flood insurance, make sure the policy also covers building contents and the coverage limits are adequate. Remember, even if the last flood missed you or you have done some flood proofing, the next flood may affect you. Flood insurance covers all surface floods, even if a federal disaster is not declared. The City is a participant in the NFIP Community Rating System (CRS) program.
The City is currently a Class 6 Community in the program which provides property owners within a SFHA a 20 percent reduction in flood insurance premiums. Additionally, properties within the City that do not lie within the SFHA receive a 5 percent reduction in their flood insurance premium should they elect such coverage. Contact your insurance agent for additional information on rates and coverage, or if you do not have an insurance agent, contact the NFIP at (800) 427-4661. Please note from the time of flood insurance purchase, there is up to a 30-day waiting period before National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect. Financial assistance may be available through grant programs for homeowners who meet the criteria of a repetitive loss building and wish to elevate their building above the flood level. For more information, please visit www.floridadisaster.org.
FLOOD PROTECTION MEASURES. Prior to a storm, take measures to protect property from flooding.
- Retrofit buildings with storm shutters and reinforced garage doors
- Report drainage problems to Public Works Customer Service at (941)240-8050
- Retrofit your property by regrading the property or elevating your house.
- Elevate air handlers, electrical boxes, and water heaters (permits required).
- Position sandbags, unopened bags of soil additive or garden mulch and boarding over structural openings to attempt to divert flood waters (garden mulch is also usable for landscaping after the flood event).
FLOOD WARNING SYSTEM. Sign up for the city's community emergency alert system, Alert Sarasota County. Tune into local TV (Weather Channel - cable channel 31) and radio channels (FM 92.1, 91.7, 100.7, and AM 1320, 1530) for flood watches and warnings or purchase a NOAA weather alert radio. Alerts can give you time to prepare. You can also check the City’s website on disaster planning.
- Hurricane Watches are posted 48 hours prior to the onset of hurricane force winds - 74mph
- Tropical Storm Watches are posted 48 hours prior to the onset of tropical storm force winds – 39mph
FLOOD SAFETY. Remember: If your life or the lives of others are in imminent danger, call 911!
- Have your electricity turned off by the power company: Call FPL, (800) 468-8243, to request service. Do not use appliances that have been in water. Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. Be patient. FPL restores power to critical facilities, such as hospitals and water utilities, before individual homes and businesses.
- Do not walk through flowing water: Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. The water may be contaminated by sewage or infested with snakes and other vermin. Stay away from unstable stream banks.
- Do not drive through a flooded area: Roads and bridges may be washed out. Obey road barriers.
- Look out for animals and harmful insects. Fire ants and snakes will be looking for dry ground.
- Look before you step. Watch for broken glass, nails and slippery surfaces.
- Be alert for gas leaks. Do not smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames until you know the area has been ventilated.
- Evacuate when notified. Evacuate quickly when evacuation order or advisory is issued and have a predetermined evacuation route and destination. Don’t forget to have a full tank of gas.
Natural and Beneficial Functions of floodplains. Floodplain areas are also recognized as having an intrinsic value of their own as a part of the interconnected ecosystem and an influential role in increasing a community's quality of life. The recognized benefits of a naturally functioning floodplain include the storage and conveyance of flood waters, the recharging of groundwater; the maintenance of surface water quality, and the provision of habitats for fish and wildlife. These areas also provide diverse recreational opportunities, scenic value, and a source of community identity and pride. The existing floodplain along the City’s Myakkahatchee Creek, provides a habitat for all forms of fish and wildlife. The City has acquired and continues to acquire much property in this floodplain to preserve the habitat and protect the watershed from pollutants entering the Myakkahatchee Creek, the City’s primary drinking water supply.
FLOODPLAIN DEVELOPMENT PERMIT REQUIREMENTS. Always check with the City’s Building Division of the Neighborhood Development Services Department and the Department of Public Works before you initiate construction activities, alter the grade, or place fill on your property. A permit may be needed to verify that projects do not cause impacts to other properties. Please help by reporting illegal floodplain development to the City’s Building Division.
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT/DAMAGE REQUIREMENTS. The NFIP requires that if the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the building’s market value, then the building must meet the same construction requirements as a new building. Substantially damaged buildings must be brought up to the same standards (e.g., a residence damaged so that the cost of repairs equals or exceeds 50% of the building’s value before it was damaged must be elevated above the base flood elevation). Please contact the City’s Building department for more information on the substantial improvement/damage rules.
Drainage System Maintenance. Do not dump or throw anything into the canals, ditches, inlets, or streams. Dumping is a violation of the City’s Illicit Discharge Ordinance 05-47, and the City’s Fertilizer Ordinance and Ordinance 2007-45. Grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels. A plugged channel cannot carry water when it rains. Each and every piece of trash contributes to flooding. If you see someone dumping debris into canals, ditches, inlets or streams, please contact Public Works Customer Service at (941) 240-8050.
- It is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure that the culvert pipe under the properties driveway is clean and free of obstructions. Clogged driveway culverts may cause flooding on your property and on other properties too.
- If your property is next to a canal, ditch, or stream, make sure that the banks are clear of brush and debris. The City has a maintenance program that can help remove major blockages, such as downed trees and severe siltation. To report a major blockage, call Public Works Customer Service at (941) 240-8050.
The following are key City contacts regarding flood information:
Stormwater Manager (Public Works)
Emergency Manager (Fire Rescue)
- A complete list of City, State and Federal Contacts for flood information is given by clicking here.
- The November 4, 2016 flood maps are on City Website or on FEMA website: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search. Contact FEMA at (877) 336-2627 for additional questions on flood mapping.
- Contact NFIP at (800)427-4661 for questions on flood insurance.
- Useful publications from FEMA on flood protection are available at www.fema.gov and can be found at the City’s Department of Public Works, North Port Public Library and Library website http://sarac.co.sarasota.fl.us/.
CUSTOMER SURVEY. We will like a feed back from the North Port citizens on flood awareness. Please click here for a survey to provide us feed back on how best to serve you on flood information, flood preparation and protection.
City Website- For additional information on flood issues, please visit our homepage and type the keyword “flood” in the search feature.
FEMA Flood Map Updates - http://www.cityofnorthport.com/index.aspx?page=1004
FEMA Flood Maps - http://www.cityofnorthport.com/index.aspx?page=1271
Community Rating System Information - http://www.cityofnorthport.com/index.aspx?page=1264
Elevation Certificates - http://www.cityofnorthport.com/government/city-services/public-works/flood-information/elevation-certificates-3188
City Stormwater Management - http://www.cityofnorthport.com/government/city-services/public-works/stormwater-management
City Stormwater Regulations ULDC Chapter 18 - http://www.cityofnorthport.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2927
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Website - Publications from FEMA, reading materials on floodplains, and FEMA maps can be found at the FEMA website http://www.fema.gov/ and the North Port Public Library website http://sarac.co.sarasota.fl.us/.
North Port Library - Useful publications from FEMA and FIRM maps can available at the North Port Public Library and Library website http://sarac.co.sarasota.fl.us/.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) - www.floodsmart.gov
Evacuation Shelters and Maps - https://ags3.scgov.net/sarcoflood/
Local Mitigation Strategy -