What is a "flood"? For flood insurance purposes, "a flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow."

Floodplains are designated by the frequency of the flood that is large enough to cover them. For example, the 10-year floodplain will be covered by the 10-year flood and the 100-year floodplain by the 100-year flood.

Flood frequencies, such as the "100-year flood," are determined by plotting a graph of the size of all known floods for an area and determining how often floods of a particular size occur. Another way of expressing the flood frequency is the chance of occurrence in a given year, which is the percentage of the probability of flooding each year. For example, the 100-year flood has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year.

The National Flood Insurance Program has established a de facto minimum standard of protection against the 100-year flood. This is a relatively low level of protection. For example, there is a 26% chance that a levee or channel designed to contain the 100-year flood will be at that design capacity at least once over a 30 year period. All residents and businesses in areas vulnerable to flooding should have flood insurance.

Homeowner insurance policies DO NOT cover damage from rising water.

Floodplain management assists customers in meeting the requirements of the Gulf County Land Development Regulations and the National Flood Insurance Program. This office is the archive for all the flood information for the county, and the other local jurisdictions, including flood insurance rate maps, elevation certificates, letters of map amendment, historical flooding, coastal barrier resources areas, and flood insurance studies. This office is also responsible for the Community Rating System or CRS information. CRS is a voluntary program which based on activities performed determines a discount from 5 percent to 40 percent on flood insurance rates. This office assists the special projects and grants department with Mitigation of flood prone structures. The following information can be obtained from this office.

* Did you know that homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood damages? Only flood insurance covers flood damages. As a member the National Flood Insurance Program, flood insurance is available to all citizens of Gulf County.   
* Did you know that there is a 30 day waiting period before insurance coverage will be effective? So do not delay in obtaining flood insurance coverage.

* Did you know that 30% (approximately) of all flood insurance claims arise from Zone X (area of minimal flooding)? Just because you are not in a high hazard zone, does not mean that you will never flood.                  

Take precautions with your property, purchase flood insurance. Talk to your insurance agent today or visit the “FloodSmart” web page listed in the links.           

If you have questions about Flood Protection and what can be done at a specific location to possibly mitigate future flood damages we can help with those questions. Please contact our Floodplain Manager for further information or read the “Property Protection” flyer in the links. If a site visit is needed, we can set that up as well.

TURN AROUND DON'T DROWN: Remember that 12” of water can float a car, don’t drive thru a flooded street or go around barricades.           

Prepare for flooding by doing the following:
* Know how to shut off the electricity and gas to your house when a flood comes.    
Make a list of emergency numbers and identify a safe place to go.  
* Make a household inventory.
* Put insurance policies, valuable papers, medicine, etc., in a safe place.      
* Collect and put cleaning supplies, camera, waterproof boots, etc., in a handy place.

Practice some flood protection measures:
* Mark your fuse box to show the circuits in the floodable areas.  
* Consider elevating your structure above flood levels.
* Check your building for water entry points, such as dryer vents. These can be protected 
  by low walls or temporary shields.
* Install a floor drain plug, standpipe, overhead sewer backup valve to prevent sewer 
   backup flooding.

* Develop a disaster response plan. See the RedCross’ website at www.redcross.org for  
*  Get a copy of“Repairing your flooded home”. This can be found at the Red Cross’ website listed  

Talk to the Grants Department for possible grants for mitigation:
Please remember that the more documentation you have regarding past flooding, the better we can assist you with possible grant opportunities. All grants are competitive and require a benefit cost analysis.                
  • For more information, contact the Grants Department at (850) 227-2383.

Message of Service   
If you want to know if a property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area, check our website at GoMaps. You’ll find a wealth of information about the County’s Flood Insurance Rate Map, coastal high hazard areas, flood depths at your property, natural conservation areas and wetland, flood insurance, special rules for building in the floodplain, and ideas for protecting your property from flood damage. Or you can call the Planning Department with all of your floodplain questions at (850) 227-9562. We also have copies of FEMA Elevation Certificates.

And, upon requesta communityrepresentative will make a site visit and provide one-on-one advice to an owner about protection of the property concerning flooding, drainage, and sewer problems. Call (850) 227-1401.