If you want to know if your property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), check the website. You will find information on the city's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), flood insurance, special rules for building in the floodplain, and ideas for protecting your property from flood damage. You can contact the Building Division with your questions pertaining to building in the SFHA at 813-749-1124.
For copies of FEMA elevation certificates for building constructed in the floodplain since 1995 and for information on Flood Zones and Letters of Map Adjustment, please contact the Planning and Redevelopment Department at 813-749-1147 or the website. Please Note: The city does not have Flood Elevation Certificates and Letters of Map Adjustment for every property.
If you have a flooding emergency or drainage problem, call the Public Works Department for help. If maintenance of the city system is required, they can handle it, or, if there is no system, they can refer it for further investigation. They can also explain ways to stop flooding and prevent damage on your property. There is also extensive emergency information provided in the Hurricane Guide which is typically available June through November at all city facilities.
The most serious threat of general flooding is during the hurricane season (June through November). Tune into TV and radio weather broadcasts for special local advisories. If you need assistance or transportation during an evacuation because of age, handicap, or other special needs, contact Pinellas County Emergency Management office at 727-464-3800. Don't wait for a storm to strike; call as soon as possible so that plans can be made in advance to assist you.
Before the Storm
Know Oldsmar's flood warning procedures. Plan your evacuation in advance. Know where, when, and how you are going to evacuate prior to a storm. Your plan should provide for you, your pets, your hurricane supplies (food, medicine, etc.) and insurance considerations. Also take proper identification and important papers and documents. If you live in an area that is particularly vulnerable to flooding, you may want to keep plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber and materials in stock to prepare your property and to aid in emergency repairs afterwards.
During the Storm
Keep a battery-powered radio tuned to local stations and comply with any evacuation orders.
Stay away from flood waters! The #1 cause of death during floods is drowning. High water often conceals storm drain inlets and the depth of ditches. Fast moving water can easily knock a person off their feet.
Driving in Flooding Areas
More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Drive around flooded intersections or choose another route. Water depth of 6 to 10 inches is enough to ruin an engine and carry your car (in fast moving waters).
Danger of Electricity
Do not approach electrical lines, and never use electrical equipment or appliances that are wet! Remember to turn off your electricity, check for gas leaks, be alert for animals, and watch your step for hidden hazards.
Local Flood Hazard
If you live in or own property in the Special Flood Hazard Area - also known as the 100-year floodplain, you live in an area with a 1% chance of receiving a severe flood annually. Because you live in this area, you are required to have a federally-backed flood insurance policy (unless you do not have a mortgage on the structure). It means that you will be required to rebuild your structure to current code requirements should you receive monetary damages to your property in excess of 50% of the market value of your structure.
Types of Flooding
Oldsmar is susceptible to "coastal" and "inland" flooding. Inland flooding occurs when lakes rise above normal levels or when depressions in the land are filled by rain and create "ponds." Development is partially to blame as many natural surfaces become paved and do not allow for absorption into the ground at the normal rate. Oldsmar does require developments to account for this as directed by the Land Development Code.
Property Protection Measures
There are many methods for protecting your home. You can divert water from your property by regrading or by constructing an earthen berm, construction swales (shallow ditches), retention areas (small, shallow depressions), and other alternatives. These methods may require permits and should be discussed with design professionals in the city's Building Department. In extreme events, you may need to use sandbagging or other materials to seal openings and cracks. Contact Municipal Services or the Fire Department to see if this service is provided during a storm event. If roof drains are causing a problem, gutters can help direct the run-off away from the house.
Drainage System Maintenance
Oldsmar is interfaced with a system of natural and man-made canals, ditches, and waterways that serve to direct and maintain the flow of water that will avoid flooding. It is most important that these elements of the floodwater drainage system be kept open and clear of debris and trash that could impede the flow of water in a flooding situation. Do not place any debris, lawn trash, or other materials in stormwater inlets, ditches, or other waterways. Dumping into the drainage system can easily create blockages that result in flooding during a severe rain - the house you flood may be your own! Dumping of debris or trash in the drainage system or alteration of the channels is prohibited. Violators should be reported to law enforcement or Public Works officers. Always check with the Building Division before you make any changes such as grading, filling, or construction on your property.
Natural & Beneficial Functions of the Floodplain
A floodplain is any land area susceptible to being inundated by water. In our city natural floodplain areas provide excellent habitat for diverse wildlife and enhance water quality, as vegetation and soils found within the floodplain serve as water filters, intercepting surface water runoff before reaching the bays. A wetland is a transitional area between water and land which supports unique wetland vegetation. The native vegetation and wildlife in the wetlands must be protected. The undeveloped floodplain areas lessen the effects of storm and flood waters by providing natural storage areas for flood waters and by buffering the coastal areas from storm surges, thus protecting human life and property from flood damage.
Floodplain Permit Requirements for Development & Substantial Improvements
The purpose of the Flood Regulations of the Oldsmar Land Development Code is to restrict or prohibit uses and/or construction that is dangerous to health, safety, property, and general welfare due to increase in erosion, flood heights, or velocity waters. Oldsmar's Building Division can provide you with the requirements that govern construction in flood hazard areas. New construction or substantial improvement of any residential structure in the Special Flood Hazard Area is required to have the lowest floor elevated to 1 foot above the base Flood Elevation. An Elevation Certificate, prepared, signed, and sealed by a registered land surveyor, will be required. Development in the Coastal High Hazard Area or Floodway is also regulated by the codes above. Additional criteria must be met for any new construction or substantial improvement in these areas. Past completed Flood Zone Determinations are available through the Planning and Redevelopment Department.
Flooding is not covered by normal homeowners insurance. You can protect your home and its contents from flood loss through the National Flood Insurance Program. Contact any licensed property or casualty broker for more information.
Flood insurance is available for most enclosed buildings, including contents. This includes homes, condominiums, and mobile homes on foundations, businesses, and farms. The contents of a rental unit are also insurable. There is a 30-day waiting period from the policy purchase until coverage begins, with the following exceptions:
- There is a one day period after a policy coverage increase.
- Coverage becomes effective immediately at the time of a house title transfer. Flood insurance is necessary to obtain federally secured funds to buy, build, or renovate a structure located in a flood hazard area. This includes federal grants, FHA & VA loans, as well as most conventional mortgage loans.
Check to see if your property is within a designated Flood Hazard Area. Do this even if you do not (or did not) require a conventional mortgage loan to purchase your house or business. To protect yourself financially, purchase flood insurance if your property is in a designated flood hazard area. If your home receives flood water damage, whether or not you purchased a flood insurance policy is important - the type and amount of federal disaster assistance available to you changes if you do not have flood insurance.
Obtaining Additional Information
If you want to know if your property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), you may:
- See the city's Flood Insurance Rate Map on the FEMA Map Service Center
- View a paper copy in the Planning and Redevelopment Department
- Contact the Building Division with your questions pertaining to building in the SFHA at 813-749-1124
For copies of FEMA elevation certificates for buildings constructed in the floodplain since 1995 and for information on Flood Zones and Letters of Map adjustment, please contact the Planning and Redevelopment Department at 813-749-1121. Please note that the city does not have Flood Elevation Certificates and Letters of Map Adjustments for every property.
Important Phone Numbers
Oldsmar Building Division: 813-749-1124
Oldsmar City Hall: 813-749-1100
Oldsmar Fire and Rescue: 813-749-1200
Oldsmar Municipal Services 813-749-1260
Oldsmar Public Works: 813-749-1226
Pinellas County Citizen Information: 727-464-4333
Pinellas County Emergency Management: 727-464-3800
If you see construction or filling without permit(s), please call Code Enforcement at 813-749-1129.
For further information regarding shelters, evacuation routes, etc., please visit the following websites:
Terms You Should Know
Tropical Storm Watch
Under a Tropical Storm Watch, Tropical Storm conditions include winds of 39 to 73 miles per hour and pose a possible threat to the area within 36 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning
Under a Tropical Storm Warning, Tropical Storm conditions are expected within 24 hours.
Under a Hurricane Warning, winds that sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher are expected in the area within 24 hours.
A striking hurricane creates 3 major hazards:
- Storm Surge,
- High winds, and
- Heavy rains.
The most dangerous is the tropical storm surge, which can reach more than 20 feet.
The most important instruction that you receive from local government officials will be relayed over local radio and TV stations. If you live in the safe area, be prepared to stay in your home. If you live in a mobile home or an area ordered to evacuate, leave immediately.