Flooding

If you know of a flooding problem which should be addressed, please call us at (813) 274-3101. 

You can also report flooding issues via the City's following Customer Service Center link:

There are several causes of flooding within the city of Tampa. The most frequent type of flooding, localized flooding, is caused by rainy season thunderstorms and tropical storms. Due to the lack of topographic relief in our area, it is sometimes difficult for water to quickly drain from the land.  Tampa also has areas that can experience tidally-influenced flooding. Additionally, storm surge associated with tropical systems can create the most widespread damage to the city.

Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, doesn't mean you won't in the future. Flood risk isn't just based on history, it's also based on a number of factors: rainfall, river-flow and tidal-surge data, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to building and development.

The sections below provide flood information related to safety, flood prevention and protection, flood insurance, and the natural functions of floodplains.

Know Your Flood Zone

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) illustrate flood hazards and are used for assessing a property’s flood risk as well as determining flood insurance and building requirements.

The City of Tampa and Hillsborough County both have copies of the latest flood maps for our area. The Stormwater Division also has maps available that show flood-hazard areas and areas of localized flooding, which may not be shown on FEMA flood maps. You may want to check these maps for flooding information before purchasing property. Please contact the Stormwater Division or visit Hillsborough County’s “Find my Flood Zone” Maps which are also available at the John F. Germany Library reference section.

You can also access the official FEMA FIRM panels at https://msc.fema.gov/portal or contact the Stormwater Division with questions related to Flood Insurance Rate Map Zone Information.

For questions related to Flood Insurance Rate Map Zone information, the City will provide you with the following information upon request:

  • The location of a property in relation to the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as shown on the current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) of the City.
  • Additional flood insurance data for a site, such as the FIRM zone and the base flood elevation or depth, if shown on the FIRM.
  • Elevation certificates for new and substantially improved structures in the SFHA.

If you would like to make an inquiry, please provide the street address and, if available, the subdivision, lot and block number. We are open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Call us at the Stormwater Department (813) 274-3101 or drop by the office at 306 East Jackson Street. There is no charge for this service.

Insure Your Property for Your Flood Hazard

Did you know homeowner’s insurance policies usually do not cover damage from floods? However, because Tampa participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy backed by the Federal government.

The City of Tampa joined the NFIP in 1991 to provide floodplain residents and property owners an avenue to receive financial aid after floods, especially smaller floods that do not warrant federal disaster aid (which is required for most federal disaster assistance to be offered). NFIP makes federally backed flood insurance available for all buildings. Flood insurance covers direct losses caused by surface flooding, including an overflowing river, nearby lakes, drainage ditches, creeks and canals that can be caused by tropical storms, hurricanes or other significant events.

To lower the cost of insurance, the City of Tampa voluntarily participates in the NFIP’s Community Rating System (CRS), an 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 comprehensive floodplain management activities implemented by the City. Tampa is currently rated as a Class 6 community, which provides a 20% discount on flood insurance premiums in flood zones and a 10% discount on policies outside of the flood zone. This represents an immense savings to residents of the City of Tampa every year. For more information about the CRS, click here.

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.

Stay Safe

Ahead of any storm event, stay informed. Know your evacuation zone as well as your flood zone (they are not the same), and monitor local stream gage conditions.

The National Weather Service and Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center issue warnings for expected flooding, which are broadcast on most radio and television stations. The City of Tampa also utilizes Alert Tampa to notify registrants of important information, including evacuation notices, through text messages, email, and phone alerts. Registering for Alert Tampa is free. You can register online or call (813) 231-6184.

Tips for safety during flooding events:

  • Do not drive through flooded areas; street flooding can conceal many hidden dangers
  • Do not wade through flooded water
  • Stay away from electrical lines
  • Watch out for unseen hazards
  • Be alert for animals such as snakes, insects and loose dogs
  • Obey all evacuation notices
  • Do not approach electrical lines
  • Turn of your household electricity
  • Check for gas leaks (if you have this utility)

 

Current Stream Conditions:

For current water levels in the area, please visit the below links for real-time gauge information from select U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) sites within the city limits:

 

For more information on gauges and how to read gauges, please visit the U.S. Geological Survey definition page at https://water.usgs.gov/nsip/definition9.html

Protect Your Property from Flooding

Tampa receives frequent intense rainstorms that can cause localized flooding to occur.  Due to the lack of topographic relief, it can be difficult for water to quickly drain from the land.  Flood water may not be deep, but it can damage property and even pose a threat to personal safety.  During a tropical storm or hurricane event, the situation will likely be much more widespread and intense compared to localized flooding that occurs during seasonal rainstorms.

You can take an active role in protecting your property from flood damage. The method you choose depends on your particular situation. Sandbagging alone is not an effective method for protecting a structure from flooding.  Check out FEMA's Protecting Your Home and Property from Flood Damage to review some recommendations and strategies on how to better protect your home!  In addition to protection, think about insuring your property through the NFIP.  Visit www.floodsmart.gov  for more information on flood insurance. 

Build Responsibly

If you wish to build in a FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), you will need to provide an Elevation Certificate with your construction permit application.   Elevation certificates must be completed by a Professional Engineer (PE) or Professional Land Surveyor (PLS).   Download a fillable version here:  Elevation Certificate FEMA Form 086-0-33.

Note: If you exceed 50% of your home's value with improvements or repairs and you are in a special flood hazard area ("A" and "V" zones) the house must be brought up to current code standards, including elevating to above the base flood elevation.

Always check with the Construction Services Center (CSC) before you make changes such as grading, filling, or construction on your property. The changes you have planned may require permitting to ensure that your project does not cause problems for your neighbors.

The Stormwater Engineering Division maintains a "Red Line List" of flood prone properties. Development in these areas might be restricted. Call the Construction Service Center for more information at (813) 274-3100. 

Protect Natural Floodplain Functions

Our floodplains provide natural buffers for reducing flood damage and are an important habitat for many diverse species of wildlife. The Upper Hillsborough River and its tributaries are now Outstanding Florida Waters and are protected to ensure their continued usefulness for both the citizens of Tampa and the environment of Florida.

There are several ways you can help prevent Stormwater Pollution and keep our waterways clean. Do not place any debris - lawn trash or otherwise - in stormwater inlets, ditches or other waterways. This includes grass clippings; which should be blown back onto the yard or vacuumed, not blown into storm inlets. Dumping into the drainage system can easily create blockages and when it rains the water has nowhere to go, resulting in flooding. Itis a violation of City of Tampa Code Chapter 21-9 to dump into any public drainage system. The house you flood may be your own.

If you see someone dumping anything into stormwater inlets, ditches or other waterways, report it to the Stormwater Operations office (813) 274-3101.

Learn More!

The City of Tampa Stormwater Engineering Division participates annually in several different outreach events aimed towards educating and informing residents about flooding and environmental protection. Some of the events we attend are listed below:

  • Hurricane Expo: Activities for adults and children, educational displays, meteorology panel and tips from the experts on hurricane preparedness. Booths and materials explaining emergency/disaster response and recovery operations. For more click here.
  • Clean Air Fair: Free to exhibit and attend. Environmental  and community exhibits, prize drawings for gift cards and local attractions, live music, complimentary refreshments, transportation and bike exhibits, health and safety information, photo contest exhibit, and environmental information sessions. For more click here.
  • EcoFest: A community event organized by Learning Gate Community School, the City of Tampa and the USF Office of Student Affairs to celebrate the many businesses, organizations, and individuals in the Tampa Bay area dedicated to the principles of sustainability – Ecology, Equity and Economy. For more click here.
  • Florida Water Festival: A premier educational event. It is a unique learning opportunity for children and adults alike. These free to attend events are designed to educate the public at large of the importance of protecting Florida’s precious water resources. For more click here.