Flood Awareness

Overview
The potential flooding source in the City of Temple Terrace is the Hillsborough River. Stormdrain systems are also susceptible to annual flood events. Flooding can occur as a result of heavy rainstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes. Although the Tampa Bypass Canal, which includes several concrete control structures, and the dam located downstream from the City provide some defense against flooding, there remains a potential for a flood disaster.

Floodplains are a natural component of the Hillsborough River. Understanding and protecting the natural functions of floodplains helps reduce flood damage and protect resources. When flooding spreads out across the floodplain, its energy is dissipated, which results in lower flood flows downstream, reduced erosion of the riverbank, deposition of sediments higher in the watershed, and improved groundwater recharge.

There are several gages along the Hillsborough River that provide current and historical information, including water flow, water level, rate of discharge, and peak flow. The closest monitoring gage for the Temple Terrace area is the Hillsborough River Gage at Fowler Avenue. Gage data and local elevations are all surveyed in National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 29 (NGVD29 or NGVD). This standard is used to make accurate measurements of flood elevations, ground elevations, building elevations, and to calibrate gages that supply water level data.

National Flood Insurance Program Changes
Important changes in the National Flood Insurance Program will take effect April 1, 2015, making flood insurance more affordable for most homeowners. Click on the documents below about these changes and how they may affect your coverage.

* Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act Fact Sheet
* National Flood Insurance Changes Backgrounder

Floods of Record
The largest flood of record was the flood of 1933, which was caused by intense rainfall associated with a tropical hurricane passing across central Florida from the Atlantic Ocean on September 4, 1933. More recently, the floods of 1960 included a stationary front that lay across north-central Florida from March 15th to 18th and two major storms in September, hurricane "Donna" and tropical storm "Florence," with the most intense rainfall being associated with hurricane "Donna," which passed over central Florida on September 10th and 11th. The Tampa Bypass Canal, including several concrete control structures, was built in the 1960s and 1970s to reduce the potential for flooding by redirecting flood waters from the Hillsborough River to Tampa Bay.

Flood Prevention
Keeping the City’s storm drain system clean and clear of debris is vital to reduce flooding, its associated hazards, and improving water quality. Allowing anything other than rainwater into the storm drains can cause the storm drain system to become obstructed, which can cause flooding and negatively affect water quality. Please – Don’t dump into storm drains or ditches, they lead to streams and rivers, which lead to the bay.

Because maintaining a clean, unobstructed storm drain system is so vital, the City has regulations against dumping into the storm drains and the river. If you see dumping into the storm drains or the river, contact Code Compliance at (813) 506-6880.

Keep riverbanks clear of trash, and debris to help maintain an unobstructed flow of water; however, do not remove live vegetation growing on the banks. Live vegetation is tightly regulated by local, state and federal agencies.

Property Protection
Emergency Floodproofing - Make sure debris is cleared from gutters and downspouts. Move furniture, valuables, and important documents such as household inventories and insurance policies to a safe, waterproof place. Shut off all electricity and gas.

Permanent Retrofitting - Practical and cost-effective retrofitting methods are available for reducing or eliminating the risk of flooding. Such retrofitting methods include home elevation, constructing floodwalls or berms, and protecting utilities. Installing storm shutters and reinforcing garage doors also protects against tropical storm and hurricane force winds. For further information on retrofitting, contact the City of Temple Terrace Engineering Division at (813) 506-6570 or Community Development Department at (813) 506-6460.

Advance Warnings
Flooding can be associated with tropical storms, hurricanes, or other rain events. Tropical storm and hurricane watches are issued when conditions are possible within a specified area within 48 hours. Tropical storm and hurricane warnings are issued when tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within a specified area within 36 hours. Flood warning times are as low as 4 – 6 hours in advance.

Once a warning or watch has been issued, the Emergency Alert System is activated and local broadcast television and radio stations will interrupt their broadcasts to inform the public. Temple Terrace also uses its website and Facebook to communicate with citizens. Citizens are encouraged to sign up on the City’s website to receive periodical updates regarding City business and potential hazards.

Flood Safety
Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. More than half of all flood related deaths result from vehicles being swept downstream. Of these, many are preventable.

Follow these safety rules:

• Monitor the NOAA Weather Radio, or your local news source for vital weather related information.
• Evacuate immediately when an evacuation order or advisory is issued.
• If flooding occurs, get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots,
washes etc.
• Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.
• Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways.
• Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.

Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers. Know your evacuation route and
have a family rendezvous point.

Shelters are available throughout Hillsborough County, including shelters for people who have special needs. The use of a special needs shelter must be approved in advanced. When an evacuation order is issued and shelters are open, transportation is also available. To register for a special needs shelter and/or transportation visit the Hillsborough County Special Needs Shelter Information web page.

Find out more about driving during flood conditions at Turn Around, Don't Drown™

For more information on Hurricane preparedness or Hillsborough County Emergency Management, please
review the Hillsborough County Hurricane Guide and Hillsborough County Emergency Management
website.


Flood Hazard Mapping
Through its Flood Hazard Mapping Program, FEMA identifies flood hazards, assesses flood risks, and partners with states and communities to provide accurate flood hazard and risk data to guide them to mitigation actions. Flood Hazard Mapping is an important part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as it is the basis of the NFIP regulations and flood insurance requirements. FEMA maintains and updates data through Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and risk assessments. FIRMs include statistical information such as data for river flow, storm tides, hydrologic/hydraulic analyses, and rainfall and topographic surveys. FEMA uses the best available technical data to create the flood hazard maps that outline your community’s different flood risk areas.


Special Flood Hazard Areas (Is your house in a Floodplain?)
FEMA has identified flood hazard areas throughout Florida by producing Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) for each city. Since the City of Temple Terrace participates in the NFIP program, copies of FEMA maps are kept in the Public Works Department. For a determination of whether your property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area, contact the Temple Terrace Public Works Department at (813) 506-6575.

All residents in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) should have flood insurance.


National Flood Insurance Program
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a Federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase flood insurance. Participation in the NFIP is based on an agreement between the local community and the federal government. It states that if the community will adopt and enforce certain floodplain management regulations to ensure safe development of flood prone areas, the Federal Government will make flood insurance available within the community as a financial protection against flood losses.

Elevation Certificates are an important administrative tool for the NFIP. They are used to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances, to determine the proper insurance premium rate and to support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment. Elevation Certificates provided to the City are available in the Public Works Department (813) 506-6570.

The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.

As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS:

1. Reduce flood damage to insurable property;
2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP; and
3. Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

Keep these Facts in Mind:

Your largest investment is probably your home, but your home may not be adequately protected.
Bank required flood insurance typically covers only the structure and not the contents, which is optional.
You can buy flood insurance no matter what your flood risk is.
Living away from streams and rivers does not guarantee your house will never flood.
Federal disaster assistance is only available if a disaster is federally declared.
Low-cost policies are available for homes in low-to moderate-risk areas.
Typically there is a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before your policy goes into effect.

For more information on flooding, flood risks, preparation, and recovery please visit: Floodsmart.gov

Local Mitigation Strategy
As part of the City's participation in the Community Rating System, the City adopted the County-wide Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) along with Hillsborough County and the Cities of Plant City and Tampa. The goal of the LMS is to minimize the effects of any potential natural or man-made disasters on our community and its infrastructure. In July of 2010, the City adopted the five-year update to the LMS, identifying and prioritizing hazard mitigation projects. The City publishes an annual progress report updating the progress of the hazard mitigation projects.


NFIP Substantial Improvement/Damage Requirements
The NFIP requires that if the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvements to a building equals or exceed 50% of the building's market value, then the building must meet the same construction requirements as a new building. Substantially damaged buildings must also be brought up to the same standards.

Waiving Property Flood Insurance Requirements
If applicable, a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) can be issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for your property. A LOMA is a letter from FEMA stating that an existing structure or parcel of land that has not been elevated by fill (i.e. the existing structure or parcel of land is on natural grade) would not be inundated by the base flood, also known as the 100-year flood. Fill is defined as material placed to raise the ground to or above the Base Flood Elevation. Floodplain filling, along with any floodplain development requires a permit.

A request is made to FEMA that a single structure or a legally recorded parcel of land or portions thereof be removed from a designated Special Flood Hazard Area. A LOMA amends the currently effective FEMA map and establishes that a specific property is not located in a floodplain. In most cases, the applicant will need to hire a Licensed Land Surveyor or Registered Professional Engineer to prepare an Elevation Certificate for the property. Upon receiving a complete application forms package, FEMA will normally complete its review and issue its determination in 4 to 6 weeks.

Floodplain Development
Poorly planned development in floodplains can lead to erosion, loss of valuable property, increased risk of downstream property flooding, and degradation of water quality. All development in the floodplain requires permitting. For information on floodplain development permits, contact the City's Community Development Department at (813) 506-6460. If you see construction or filling in the floodplain, but no permit posted, please contact the City's Code Compliance Department at (813) 506-6880.