Know Your Flood Hazard
Flooding results from two major sources in the City of Sarasota. Coastal areas are subject to surge and coastal waves from the Gulf of Mexico. Inland areas flood when rainfall accumulates in low, flat areas with inadequate or poorly maintained drainage systems. Rainfall occurs primarily due to thunderstorms in the summer months, with additional rainfall occurring with the passage of hurricanes or tropical systems.
The 100-year floodplain is the area that has a 1% chance of being flooded in any given year, or approximately a 25% chance of being flooded over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Smaller floods have a greater chance of occurring in any year and can still create a significant flood hazard.
Insure Your Property and Contents for Your Flood Hazard
One of the best protection measures for a building with a flood problem is National Flood Insurance, which is purchased through any property insurance agent. If the building is located in a floodplain, most mortgage lenders will require flood insurance. Be sure to include the cost of a policy in your mortgage and financial planning. Regardless of where your property is located in the City, owners and renters are eligible for flood insurance.
Protect People from Flood Hazards
There are several actions that you can take to mitigate the flood hazard, including:
- Know the flood warning procedures.
- Plan escape routes.
- During times of heavy rainfall, monitor the level of water and stay tuned to radio of TV for possible flood warnings.
- Evacuate the flood hazard area in times of impending flood or when advised to do so by the Department of Public Safety.
- DO NOT attempt to cross a flooding stream or area on foot or by car.
- If a vehicle stalls in high water, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Keep children away from flood waters, ditches, culverts and storm drains.
- Be especially cautious at night.
Protect Your Property from Flood Hazards
Retrofitting structures can minimize flood damage. Sometimes it is possible to elevate a structure. Commercial buildings can possibly install floodgates or employ other flood proofing measures. Flood proofing manuals and information on retrofitting techniques are available for review in the Building Department and in the FEMA reference section of the Sarasota County Library. Technical advice on construction techniques can also be secured from the Building Department.
Emergency measures to minimize damage during a flood situation include removing furniture, properly securing structures and glass, sandbagging and following proper evacuation procedures.
Citizens, especially those with properties located in a floodplain, are encouraged to contact the Building Department prior to building, repairing, filling or otherwise developing their property, to determine what permits are needed. Early contact eliminates confusion as to regulations, and helps avoid delays in permitting.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations require that if the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvements to a structure equals or exceeds 50% of the structure’s market value, the building must be upgraded to meet the same construction requirements as a new building. To get specific information, you should contact the Building Department prior to planning any construction at 941-954-4156.
Protect Natural Floodplain Functions
Protecting floodplains and open spaces helps all residents. The City of Sarasota has adopted the Sarasota City Plan, which provides for environmental protection and preservation of recreation and open space. Our goal is to see that our natural features such as Lido Beach and our many fine parks that are located in flood-prone areas remain underdeveloped so they can serve their natural function.
Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. Follow the basic preparedness tips:
- Know where to go.
- Prepare and maintain a disaster kit.
- Evacuate if told to do so.
- Make a family communications plan.
Flood mitigation goes beyond dollars and cents. The benefits of mitigation cannot be overstated. Community leaders are driven to take action in order to;
- Avoid property losses.
- Avoid business and education interruption.
- Benefits the ecosystem.
- Avoid loss of critical infrastructure.
- Revitalized neighborhoods.
- Improve public open spaces.
- Enhance public safety.
- Increase competitiveness of the community.
Sea Level Rise
The City of Sarasota is very susceptible to the potential impacts of Sea Level Rise (SLR). Not only will projected increases in sea level affect homes and infrastructure along the coast, but more frequent inland flooding can occur due to high tailwater conditions that can diminish the stormwater system capacity to send runoff to the Gulf of Mexico.