FEMA / Flood Safety

FEMA/ Flood Safety

The Community Improvement Department maintains the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), and provides flood zone and associated information to those who make such requests.  For more information please contact us.

Elevation Certificates
Map Changes and Flood Insurance
Flood Hazard Area
Flood Warning
Flood Safety
Flood Insurance
Property Protection
Drainage System Maintenance
Useful Links


    What's your flood risk?

Elevation Certificates 

To view Elevation Certificates on file with the City, please click here.  

Flood Hazard Area

Your property may be vulnerable to floods from heavy storms. To find out what flood zone your property is in, call the Community Improvement Department at 343-4192 or visit the Pinellas County Flood Map Service Center. The 100-year floodplain is an area that will on the average be flooded once every 100 years. There is a 1% chance of being flooded over the life of a 30-year mortgage.

Flood Warning

South Pasadena participates in Pinellas County's warning system. Warnings will be given on television and radio including PCC-TV (Spectrum 637, WOW 18, Verizon 44) and by the National Weather Service NOAA Weather Radio.Turn to these media for instructions during times of possible flooding. The hurricane tabloid which lists evacuation areas and shelters is available at City Hall and the Fire Station.

- Flood Watch:
Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

- Flash Flood Watch:
Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
- Flood Warning:
Flooding is occuring or will occur soon. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Flash Flood Warning:
A flash flood is occuring. Seek higher ground on foot immediately.  

What can you do to keep your family safe from a flood?

Stay connected and informed by signing up for Alert Pinellas. If there is a risk for flooding in your area, Pinellas County will send you emergency notifications by text, phone and or email.

Download the Ready Pinellas app to look up your evacuation zone, create your own emergency plan, get the supplies you need and use the checklist to get everything done before the storm. The Ready Pinellas app is available to download free on your mobile device through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Flood Safety

Being aware of steps to take to minimize loss prior to a flood is the first step to safety. The following steps can help:

  • Tune to Radio Stations WYNF (FM 94.9); WRBQ (FM 104.7 and AM 1380); or WFLA (AM 970) or your local ABC, CBS or NBC affiliate on Television for flood warnings.
  • Heed warnings from officials; evacuate when orders are given.
  • Don't wait for the last minute. Make plans now. If you can make plans to evacuate to a friend's house on high ground, it may be a little more comfortable than a shelter.
  • Have a small bag with essentials prepared. Remember to include any medications.
  • Be cautious at night.
  • Have battery operated flashlights, radios, and televisions in working condition. Keep fresh batteries on hand.
  • Do not panic.

Flood Insurance

South Pasadena is prone to flooding and located in a Special Flood Hazard, so you will need to consider getting flood insurance for your home, business or rental.

- Anywhere it rains, it can flood!
- Insurance policies do not cover losses due to flooding.
- Flood insurance is mandatory for federally backed mortgages on buildings located in the Special Flood Hazard Area.

For most families, a home and its contents are their greatest investments. Homeowner insurance does not cover losses from flooding. South Pasadena participates in the National Flood Insurance Program which makes flood insurance available to everyone in the City. We strongly urge you to consider buying flood insurance to protect yourself from a devastating loss. Property owners can insure their buildings and contents, and renters can insure their possessions. Get information from your agent now. Remember, there is a 30 day waiting period before any flood insurance takes effect. Even if you've never been flooded in the past that doesn't mean you can't be flooded in the future. Call your insurance agent now to be prepared for future events. Do not wait for a disaster to devastate your family.

 The National Flood Insurance Program protects your most important investment - your home or business and its contents. The insurance is considerably less expensive than federally disaster loans and it's 100 percent backed by the U.S. government.

Flood insurance covers you for damage to your home, business and contents due to surface accumulation of water from inland or tidal flooding and erosion due to flooding.

Don't assume that you're safe from flooding just because you live on an upper floor of your condo building. If a severe flood wipes out the ground floor of your building, all of the other units in the building (including your own) may become uninhabitable as well.

How Do I Buy Flood Insurance?

Flood Rates
So what will my flood rate be?
Flood insurance rates are calculated based on a variety of factors, including FEMA flood zone, structure elevation and building construction. Policies can be purchased for contents only, building only or both contents and building coverage. Getting an Elevation Certificate will help agents properly rate your policy.

Many NFIP policies provide subsidized premiums, which are much lower than the actuarial premium, which is the actual expected value of the loss. Because costs and consequences of flooding have increased, on March 21, 2014 the President signed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. This law may have impacts to your flood insurance rates and you may receive a letter from FEMA requesting an Elevation Certificate so that they can determine your true risk rate. The City recommends that you check with your insurance agent to verify any changes to your policy. 

Flood Insurance Eligibility
You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. You are also eligible for a discounted rate if your community participates in the Community Rating System. South Pasadena participates in BOTH of these programs!

Flood Insurance Claims
Before a flood:
- Take photos or video and inventory your property. You will need this, should you have to make a claim.
After a flood:
- Take photos or video of the damage to document your losses for your insurance claim before you move any debris or remove damaged belongings.
- Make a list of damaged contents.
- File your insurance claims promptly! There are time limitations on submitting claims with many insurance companies. Filing a Flood Insurance Claim
- Do not sign an Assignment of Benefits. In Florida, there is a rapidly growing scam in which a few shady home repair vendors pressure homeowners to sign away the rights and benefits of their insurance policies as a condition of performing work. This practice has led to grossly inflated claims and an explosion of Assignment of Benefit lawsuits against insurers, which is driving up the cost of homeowners' coverage for consumers. For more info vist: Florida Property Insurance Fraud, Don't Sign Your Rights Away  

Property Protection

Protecting your property from flooding can involve a variety of actions, from regular inspection and maintenance to retrofitting or making landscaping improvements. Inspecting and clearing your gutters and nearby storm drain inlets of debris helps alleviate backup. Retrofitting, such as elevating utilities and electrical systems and installing sewer backflow valves, can also help protect your home from flooding. Landscaping to ensure water flows away from your home and through vegetation before draining to the street is also very beneficial. Particular attention needs to be focused on keeping runoff from affecting neighbors, as one of the major contributing factors of local drainage problems in our community is caused by landscaping.

 The South Pasadena Building Official can help provide advice about property protection! Contact the Community Improvement Department at (727)-343-4192 Monday - Friday 7:30 A.M. - 3:30 P.M

Protecting Your Home and Property From Flood Damage

Things you can do to protect your property from flooding

Regularly inspect and maintain your home and surroundings

  • Keep stormdrains near your home clear of leaves and debris, especially before and after a storm. Only Rain Down the Drain*.
  • Inspect and clear your gutters frequently.
  • Repair or replace your roof if shingles are deteriorating or missing.
  • Repair, where possible, sidewalks, patios, decks and driveways that may have shifted over the years, allowing water to pool close to the home.

*It is illegal to dump any waste into the street, stormwater system, or into any water body in the county.

Retrofit your property

  • Install gutters with spout extensions and use a splash pad to direct the water away from your foundation. Make sure they are pointed away from your neighbors’ yards and into your grass or garden, not into the driveway.
  • Install trench drains in your driveway or at your doorway to help collect water and reduce yard flooding.
  • Raise switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring.
  • Elevate your equipment, such as water heaters, AC units, etc.
  • Install sewer backflow valves. Valves, such as backwater or flap, can alleviate wastewater from entering your home if our sewer system becomes overwhelmed.
  • Install flood vents in the walls of enclosed storage spaces. This helps relieve pressure put on the walls during a flood event and lowers the chance of their collapsing.
  • Build with flood resistant materials.

Improve your landscaping

  • Manage yard waste appropriately! Never sweep or blow leaves, clippings, or dirt into the street or stormdrains. Blow fallen leaves out of the street back into your yard as they naturally fertilize your lawn, or bag the leaves for disposal. Keep the curb and street in front of your home clear to alleviate clogged stormdrains during rain events. *Only rain down the drain. Make sure hired landscapers meet City requirements. Call 727-343-4192
  • Create a rain garden! They’ll improve the appearance of your yard and can reduce run off flooding. Plants native to Florida will require less water and fertilizer, and also lower the amount of pesticides and pollutants that enter our water bodies.
  • Install a rain barrel. These capture rainwater from your roof downspout to save for watering landscaping and plants in times of drought.
  • Add vegetative buffers to your landscaping. They are aesthetically pleasing and protect your home from flood waters.
  • Consider adding a shallow swale along the perimeter of your property. The idea is to help convey the water away from your home as well as your neighbors’ homes.
  • Install French drains  to collect excess water and direct it away from your foundation.

Flood Mitigation
Each year, thousands of properties nationwide flood repeatedly. Often built before floodplain management regulations took effect, these properties continue to place a severe strain on the National Flood Insurance fund.  FEMA has several financial assistance programs available for communities and interested property owners to acquire, retrofit, or fund other flood mitigation projects.

All these programs are managed through the State Division of Emergency Management's Mitigation Program.

  • The Flood Mitigation Assistance Program - A federal program that provides annual  funding for projects to protect flooded structures that are insured by the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • The Hazard Mitigation Program - A federal, post-disaster program that funds projects to protect public or private property from future disasters.

Another source of financial assistance available to a flood policy holder of a repetitive loss property is Increased Cost of Compliance funding. This rider on your flood policy provides additional coverage to help underwrite a flood mitigation project required by code as a condition to rebuild the damaged building. It can also help pay the non-federal portion of a cost-shared retrofitting project funded under the mitigation programs described above.

Additionally, HUD offers a competitive loan to finance mitigation of single family residences. Section 203(k) insurance enables homebuyers and homeowners to finance both the purchase (or refinancing) of a house and the cost of its rehabilitation through a single mortgage or to finance the rehabilitation of their existing home. For more information, visit HUD.GOV.

Drainage System Maintenance

Everyone can help. Keep your gutters, driveways, and sidewalks free and clear of debris such as grass clippings, branches, etc. These things will clog the City's storm drainage system causing further flooding to homeowners' properties.

If you experience flooding due to drainage or sewer backup problems or have evidence of illegal dumping of any debris into the City's storm drainage system, you should contact the city's Public Works Department at 727-384-0701.  This department administers the drainage system maintenance program to ensure proper operation and to minimize flooding.  Upon request, a representative from either of the two departments will visit the property to review the flood problem and explain possible ways to prevent future flooding and damage.

Build Smart

South Pasadena enforces specific building regulations to protect people and buildings from flooding while maintaining natural floodplain functions. Building new construction above the Base Flood Elevation is cost effective and South Pasadena rquires that new or substantially improved buildings be built at least 2 feet above the base flood elevation. Building above that may discount your flood insurance premiums even more. Find out what the Base Flood and Design Flood Elevations are BEFORE you develop your plans.

Build Responsibly!!
- Hire a licensed contractor - To find a contractor or confirm a contractor's license is up to date and legitimate, visit the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board. You can also call the Community Improvement Department at (727)-343-4192 to help.
- Find out what your Base Flood and Design Flood Elevations.
- Find out what permits are required.
- Get required permits before you start any home repair, improvement, or construction!
- Plan for proper drainage.
- Be aware of the substantial improvement rules.

South Pasadena Land Development Regulations
South Pasadena Floodplain Management Regulations
The Costs and Benefits of Building Higher
Reducing Flood Risk to Residential Buildings That Cannot Be Elevated

Floodplain Protection

The City of South Pasadena has adopted and enforces floodplain management ordinances, particularly with respect to new construction, which is an important element in making flood insurance available to home and business owners. The City also participates in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System which contributes to significant flood insurance premium reductions and helps you prevent or reduce flood losses.

So how can I protect our natural floodplains??

Keep lawn waste and trash out of storm drains, ditches, wetlands, ponds or streams... ONLY Rain Down the Drain 
Build outside of the natural floodplain
Do not fill in a floodplain.
Report: dumping, ditch obstructions, flooding and pond issues.  
Use Low Impact Development: rain barrels, raingardens/bioretention, pervious pavers, vegetative buffers and green roofs  
Educate your friends, neighbors and colleagues about the importance of natural floodplains 

Useful Links

National Flood Insurance Program : Claims Handbook
Flood Insurance Advocates
Pinellas County Emergency Management
Pinellas County Local Mitigation Strategy
Pinellas County New Online Flood Map
Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards
Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance