Be Flood Smart
Flooding is the most costly and repetitive natural disaster affecting Hillsborough County. While residents are typically affected by inland flooding near lakes and in areas with low-lying elevations, flooding along rivers and coastal tidal surge are not uncommon. Flooding can occur anytime and anywhere when heavy or steady rain occurs.
To protect yourself, learn what flood threats affect your neighborhood and your property.
- Is your property in a coastal high hazard or special flood hazard area
- Determine if there are rivers or creeks that flood frequently
- Is your home or business located in a low-lying area
- Determine your building's elevation
Due to the relatively flat terrain across Florida, it is complicated to drain accumulated water. When rivers rise, water tends to spread out far from riverbanks. During past flood events, rising rivers and repeated periods of heavy rainfall combined to pool water over land miles away from rivers. In fact, normally small rivers turned into vast lakes.
Pooling of water poses a significant risk, not as much from swift moving water, but because of the inability to judge water depth. Water only inches deep can be next to water that is several feet deep.Emergency Alerts & News
Know Your Flood Hazard
Significant rainfall events or tropical storm surge can result in repeat flooding within some areas of Hillsborough County. For information about repetitive flood loss areas, contact Hillsborough County Public Works’ Hazard Mitigation Program at (813) 307-4541.
Hillsborough County manages flooding and stormwater drainage for safe roadway use and not to reduce flooding on private property. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Do not make assumptions. Check your policy.
Flood insurance helps protect you from the financial devastation caused by floods. Even a few inches of water can bring thousands of dollars in repair and restoration costs.
The National Flood Insurance Program is a pre-disaster flood mitigation and insurance protection program. The National Flood Insurance Program makes federally backed flood insurance available to residents and business owners. Take advantage of a low-cost Preferred Risk Policy or special discounts available to Hillsborough County residents for policies issued in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and for standard low-risk policies.
To find out more about flood insurance and who writes flood insurance policies in your area, visit the national Flood Smart webpage or call toll-free (888) 379-9531.
Prepare for flooding:
- Know how to shut off the electricity and gas to your house prior to a flood
- Make a list of emergency numbers and identify a safe place to go in case of a flood
- Make a household inventory (list, videos, pictures), especially of the lowest level of your house
- Put insurance policies, valuable papers, medicine, etc., in a safe place
- Collect and put cleaning supplies, camera, waterproof boots, etc., in a handy place
- Develop a disaster response plan. See the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s website for information about preparing your home and family for a disaster
- Prepare an emergency kit
- Know your flood zone
- Know your evacuation zone and sign-up for emergency alerts
- Download the NOAA Extreme Weather Information Sheet
- Sign up for current stream flow and gage conditions or alerts from the US Geological Survey
- Monitor local river and stream levels from the National Weather Service Forecast Office
- Monitor coastal water levels and buoy information from the National Data Buoy Center
- Follow the US National Weather Service Tampa Bay on Facebook or Twitter
- Call the Hillsborough County Information Service Center (813) 272-5900 or monitor our website
Protect Your Property
Protecting your property from flooding can involve a variety of actions:
- Following building code requirements
- Elevating your home and/or utilities
- Building with flood resistant materials
- Raising electrical system components
- Installing sewer backflow valves
The FEMA Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting provides guidance to help you make decisions about the options to protect your home from flooding. For additional advice on ways to protect your property from flooding, contact Hillsborough County Public Works’ Hazard Mitigation Program at (813) 307-4541. You also may request a staff member visit your property for further information on retrofitting, remodeling and other topics.
Most flood protection measures need a building permit. Always contact Hillsborough County Development Services or your municipal building office prior to doing any type of work.
Before buying a property, be sure to check with the Hillsborough County Development Services or your municipal building office for the permitting history. Once you purchase a property, you may be required, at your own expense, to make alterations to a property that did not obtain the proper permits.
Protect Natural Floodplains
The undisturbed and wetland areas in Hillsborough County act as natural retentions of flood waters, improving water quality and providing refuge for endangered species.
Please help keep these areas natural and beautiful by reporting any illegal dumping or clearing online or by contacting the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission at (813) 627-2600.
Learn about volunteer programs and resources to protect and restore pond and rivers in your neighborhood.
For Hillsborough County:
- Hazard Mitigation Program (813) 307-4541
- Development Services (813) 272-5600
- Road or Drainage Problems (813) 635-5400
- Information Service Center (813) 272-5900 (en Español)
For City of Tampa:
- Stormwater Operations (813) 274-3101
- Construction Services Center (813) 274-3100
For City of Temple Terrace:
- Public Works (813) 506-6570
- Community Development (813) 506-6480
For City of Plant City:
- Stormwater (813) 707-7200
- Development Services (813) 659-4200