Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Knowing your relative flood risk level can help you assess your risk of financial loss and help prepare you to reduce your flood damage. Several tools are available to help you determine your level of flood risk.
The One-Step Flood Risk Profile tool at www.floodsmart.gov will give you an overall flood risk based on your proximity to the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). The FloodSmart website also has information on flood risk scenarios and the costs of flooding.
There are numerous methods available to determine if a parcel is located in or near a SFHA. FEMA provides access to view and download the Leon County FIRMs at the Map Service Center webpage. The Northwest Florida Water Management District's (NWFWMD) Flood Information Portal provides parcel-specific SFHA information based on the FIRMs. The Leon County FIRMs can also be viewed in person at Leon County Development Support and Environmental Management (DSEM) on the 2nd Floor of the Renaissance Building at 435 North Macomb Street. Locating a property relative to the SFHA provides a quick and reasonably accurate determination of flooding risks; however, it is recommended to use a more detailed risk evaluation by a licensed professional when important decisions are required.
The location of a property relative to the SFHA is only one component to assessing the level of risk. Properties can also be at higher or lower risk within a floodplain, depending where in the floodplain they are located. For example, one house in the 100-year floodplain may flood 2 feet deep during a storm, but their neighbor may flood 6 feet deep during the same storm. An elevation certificate (EC) is a useful tool in helping to determine the potential depth of flooding for a structure. If you do not have an EC for your structure, one may be available from a previous property owner. Leon County DSEM can provide available ECs, flood letters, and other engineering and survey documents to aide in assessing your risk. It is important to keep in mind that flood risks are continually changing older ECs and studies may no longer be accurate. Again, when important decisions are required it is best to use a current detailed risk evaluation by a licensed professional.
Properties located outside of a designated SFHA may be affected by localized flooding or by larger flooding events. According to FEMA, approximately 25 percent of flood claims are filed by people living outside the SFHA. As a public service, the Environmental Services Division at Leon County's Department of Development Support & Environmental Management (DSEM) will provide the following Flood Insurance Rate Map Information upon request for properties in unincorporated Leon County:
- whether a property is located in or out of the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), as shown on the current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for unincorporated Leon County
- information shown on the FIRM needed to rate a flood insurance policy such as the community number, the panel number and suffix, and the effective date of the FIRM
- additional flood insurance data for a site, such as the FIRM zone and the base flood elevation or depth, if shown on the FIRM
- the location of any floodways on the property
- if a property has a Federal mandatory purchase requirement
- if there are any known drainage problems or local regulated flood zones not shown on the FIRM
- the depth of expected flooding on the property, if known
- if the property has experienced historical flooding
- if there are any natural conservation areas and wetlands on the property
- copies of completed FEMA elevation certificates for buildings built in Special Flood Hazard Areas (A flood zones) since 1994
When making an inquiry, please be prepared to provide the street address and the parcel ID number, if available.
For more information on this service or to request information on a property, contact the Environmental Services Division by phone at 606-1300 or in person at the DSEM office located on the 2nd Floor of the Renaissance Building at 435 North Macomb Street.