Information About Sarasota’s Flood Zones

Sarasota County, Fl. A picture perfect destination for both local beach-goers and vacationers alike. With the beautiful waters of Sarasota Bay and the small chains of picturesque islands replete with parks for the enjoyment of visitors, Sarasota county seems like the perfect place for a getaway from the stress of everyday life.

However, like most areas of the Florida peninsula, Sarasota county has to contend with the threat of flooding, particularly during hurricane season. Because of the torrential rains and high wind speeds brought on by a hurricane, water levels in areas near large bodies of water, such as along the coast of Sarasota Bay or near Phillippi Creek, can rise unexpectedly and cause flooding for home and business owners in the area.

While Florida is normally called the “Sunshine State,” residents of the state are no strangers to long periods of daily rain. Such long periods of frequent rain increase the potential for flooding, so it is important to be informed about any and all flood risks for your particular property in the Sarasota area. Even without the risk of flooding, long periods of severe rain can cause damage to homes that lack proper weatherproofing (either from improper installation or from wear and tear weakening water damage prevention measures). It is entirely possible for rainfall in Florida to come in torrential downpours that closely simulate hurricane conditions that last for only a few minutes; but even those few minutes are enough to damage roofing and burst supposedly water-proof seals.

In light of the potential risks of water damage in Sarasota county, it becomes increasingly important to investigate your home for vulnerabilities in its weather protection.

The first question you might want to ask yourself is “do I need flood insurance for my home in Sarasota?” The answer to this question is largely dependent on where you live. Is your home in one of Sarasota’s flood zones? If you are purchasing a new home in the Sarasota area, you will want to ask your real estate agent if the property falls within an identified flood zone.

If you find that the property falls inside of a flood zone, check to see what the severity of the flood chance is. The majority of the flood zones in Sarasota county are classified as Zone AE, AH, or AO 100-year flood zones. These zones have a 1% chance per year of flooding up to three feet deep. Naturally, this risk increases during hurricanes, so if you can find affordable flood insurance, it may be a worthwhile investment.

Areas along the coast of Sarasota Bay, however, are classified as Zone VE flood hazards. Areas within these zones are at high risk of flooding during any period of high winds or waves. In such an area some form of flood insurance is a must, as the likelihood of strong winds and waves from a hurricane or other natural event are high within any given ten-year period of time.

Should you feel unsure as to whether or not you should purchase such insurance against the possibility of inclement weather, contact an insurance expert for further information and advice about flood insurance.

It is important to know that a recent act has been passed which changes the way in which the NFIP (the National Flood Insurance Program) assesses an applicant’s flood insurance rates. Overall, the act forces the NFIP to increase premiums in order to “make the National Flood Insurance Program more sustainable and financially sound over the long term” as an scgov.net file reports. This means that getting insurance for your property is going to be more expensive than it was before, but the specific risk of flooding in your area may justify the investment.

Steps To Help Lessen or Prevent Flood Damage

First, regularly inspect your house for signs of leaks or water damage. Pay especial attention to your ceilings. Are there any dark spots or discolored areas? If so, that is a warning sign that your roof may have a leak (or it could be mold, which is another risk to your home’s integrity).

You should also regularly inspect your home’s plumbing, as having your home flooded with sewer wastewater can be even worse than being flooded with natural water (although, natural floods can also carry unwanted bacteria and debris into your house as well).

Another way you can prepare for the occurrence of a flood is by checking the Sarasota County website for emergency evacuation routes and instructions. Here, you can find forms, plans, and information that can help you be ready for potential emergencies.

Should the worst occur, and your home is in the path of impending flood, it is important that you are ready to move at a moment’s notice. If your home is in an area that is experiencing extreme weather, stay tuned to emergency radio frequencies so you can know if a flood evacuation warning has been given for your area.

If you can, assemble an emergency evacuation kit for your home. This kit should include necessities such as water, food that can be eaten without the need for cooking (MRE’s and many canned food items fit this description), a first-aid kit, and a change of clothes. Your emergency kit should be light enough for you to carry without difficulty as you may have to walk a long distance with the kit if you lose access to your car as a resource. Keep this kit in an area where you can find and retrieve it quickly, but it is not near the ground. A shelf in your bedroom closet might be a good place to store your kit.

During a flood, follow any and all directions located in your emergency evacuation plan, and do not overload yourself unnecessarily with luxury items. Take only necessities, and avoid trying to cross through areas where flood waters are moving quickly or are above waist height. If you are unable to reach a shelter, find an area of high ground well above sea level.

After the flood ends, and you return to your home, avoid using any utilities (water, electricity, etc.) until after a professional has cleared them as being safe to use. Make sure any and all electrical connections in your home have been repaired or replaced as needed, and that your home’s water pipes are in proper working order. If you can, contact a water damage restoration or water removal service as quickly as possible after the flood to minimize the risk of mold setting into your home and causing irreversible damage.

Water from a flood can stain the floors, walls, ceilings, and furniture of your home and allow rot to set into any and all porous surfaces and objects (such as wood or fabrics). This not only causes discoloration and foul odors, but indicates that your home is at risk of developing mold.

Mold grows most rapidly in a damp or moist environment, such as a piece of furniture in a home that is still wet from recent flooding, and the spores released by mold into the air poses a serious health hazard for residents.

By staying informed of and actively involved with disaster prevention measures, you can significantly reduce the impact of flooding on your home. Being prepared with the proper preventative measures and insurance can turn a disastrous event into a much more mild inconvenience.

If you have recently experienced a flood or other kind of water damage to your property, contact an Accutech restoration expert to learn more about how to restore your home.