If you live in Manatee County, you’re more than familiar with the water. A good part of it is beachfront, and there are plenty of inlets that allow for most people to sit by the water and enjoy a nice beverage or meal while watching the ocean. However, there’s another issue that most might not think about: flooding. Are you aware of where you are—or what flood zone you live in? What’s the percent chance you’ll flood this year? If you don’t know what it is, it behooves you to find out.
FEMA sets most of the flood zones based on the information that they have on elevations and flood risks. Flood insurance rates are actually set by the amount of risk that you have based off their calculations, so it’s good to know what’s going on with FEMA’s maps before you start. Floods can happen, so it’s good to have insurance and what it’s going to cost you. If you’re looking for more information on the FEMA maps, then you’ll want to head over to their website or to Manatee County’s website. Both of them have the maps you’ll need to determine whether or not you live in a particularly dangerous flooding area.
Luckily for you, if you go to the county website there is actually an interactive map that will help you determine whether or not you live in an area that has a propensity to flood. The interactive map is fairly simple: deselect all of the information in the upper-right corner other than the flood zones, then enter your address in the bottom left box. It’ll take you straight to your home and show you the information you need regarding the flood zones.
We do live in Florida, after all. It’s not easy predicting storms or figuring whether or not you can ride out a storm, let alone what’s going on with the flooding. We showed you the interactive map before that told you your flood risk, but that same map also has an overlay dedicated to showing you the evacuation routes. Go back into the information panel at the top left and click on the evacuation zones and routes button (make sure that the option to show “Roads for Aerials” is checked as well). Now you can see not only the flood zones, but the recommended evacuation zones and the routes to take, well in advance of any incoming storm or flood event. As they say, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Preventing Flood Damage
Be aware, just because you have escaped the wrath of the flood doesn’t mean that your house hasn’t. It’s a sad time but you can take some precautions to keep the damage to a minimum. Before an oncoming flood, be sure to turn off your electric and gas supplies. Unplug your appliances, as well. Put sandbags by the openings to your home to help stem the tide. Place your important legal, personal, and professional documents well above the flood line in a sealed, waterproof box. If you have a two-story home, put as much furniture on the top floor as you can, and try to raise the rest above the flood line as well. Finally (and perhaps most importantly), place any combustible or dangerous liquids out of the way of the water in tightly sealed and secured containers. The last thing you want is more than one type of damage due to the flood. Water damage is one thing, but fire damage plus water damage is worse.
We sincerely hope that you won’t have to use this advice to evacuate your home, but it’s always good knowledge to keep around. Make sure that you know what you’re doing when there’s a flood on the horizon; stay as safe as you possibly can. There’s no danger in being prepared, but there is plenty of danger in not knowing. And, of course, if the unthinkable does happen, be sure to call a professional to help with any cleanup you might have to do. Just because a flood did massive amounts of damage doesn’t mean you need to clean it all up alone.