Flood Facts & Safety Tips
What is a flood?
Anywhere it rains, it can flood. 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. Many conditions can result in a flood: hurricanes, broken levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and rapid accumulation of rainfall.
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.
- Floods and flash floods happen in all 50 states.
- Everyone lives in a flood zone. (For more information, visit our Flood Zones FAQs.)
- Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
- If you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) or high-risk area and have a Federally backed mortgage, your mortgage lender requires you to have flood insurance. (To find your flood risk, fill out the Flood Risk Profile.)
- Just an inch of water can cause costly damage to your property.
- Flash floods often bring walls of water 10 to 20 feet high.
- A car can easily be carried away by just two feet of floodwater.
- Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are common (but often overlooked) causes of flooding.
- New land development can increase flood risk, especially if the construction changes natural runoff paths.
- Federal disaster assistance is usually a loan that must be paid back with interest. For a $50,000 loan at 4% interest, your monthly payment would be around $240 a month ($2,880 a year) for 30 years. Compare that to a $100,000 flood insurance premium, which is about $400 a year ($33 a month).
- If you live in a low-to-moderate risk area and are eligible for the Preferred Risk Policy, your flood insurance premium may be as low as $119 a year, including coverage for your property's contents.
- You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. Check the Community Status Book to see if your community is already an NFIP partner.
- It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it's important to buy insurance before the floodwaters start to rise.
- In a high-risk area, your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire.
- Last year, one-third of all claims paid by the NFIP were for policies in low-risk communities.
- The average annual U.S. flood losses from 1994-2004 were more than $2.4 billion.
- When your community participates in the Community Rating System (CRS), you can qualify for an insurance premium discount of up to 45%. Read more about CRS Ratings.
- The NFIP awarded over $16 billion in flood claims in 2005.
- Since 1978, the NFIP has paid $31.4 billion for flood insurance claims and related costs (as of 3/31/06).
- Over 5 million people currently hold flood insurance policies in more than 20,200 communities across the U.S.
Local Flood Hazard
In Osceola County, the primary threat of flooding results from the "ponding" of water during heavy storms. Some flooding can result from overflow of small ditches and streams during significant storm events. Osceola County is relatively flat, however, stormwater sometimes simply overwhelms street drainage and storm outfall devices. Leaves and other debris can clog storm drains, causing water to back up into lower-lying areas. Residents are encouraged not to blow yard waste (i.e. grass clippings, leaves, and small branches) into the street to prevent clogging of the stormwater grates and other similar devices.
How Deep Can it Get?
While the question is valid, it is difficult to predict exactly how deep flooding can be. This map application provides you with a model-originated depth forecast based on time or recurrence. You will often hear of a 100 year flood which, is frequently misunderstood.
The 100 year flood is better stated as a 1% annual chance of flooding. This equates to about a 26% chance a property will flood during the life of a typical 30 year mortgage. Given that, a 2% annual chance of flooding can happen even more frequently and may produce similar impacts, including depth.
This interactive map provides you with the ability to search your address and based on the map legend, estimate how deep the water may be at your home. Both the 1% and 2% annual flood chance periods are available and will show based on your zoom level. You can select the “Content” tab at the left of the screen to add or remove features. Of course for reference, the FEMA flood map shows the areas for which flood insurance is required. This requirement most always relates to a federally insured mortgage on the property. Even if your property is outside the regulatory flood map, it is always a good idea to purchase flood insurance.
The model-run is produced by the Osceola County Office of Emergency Management through a system known as HAZUS. This tool provides hazard insight and enhances the ability to predict impact in certain events including flooding and hurricanes.
The County makes no claim to guarantee accuracy of the model results, but recognizes it as a valuable tool to help you understand flood potential in your area. As the user of this product, you recognize this is a scientific estimate of potential.
Flood Safety Measures
You can protect yourself from flood hazards by taking measures to ensure the safety of life and property before, during, and after a flood occurs. If evacuation becomes necessary be sure that you turn off all utility services at the main connection.
- Do not walk through flowing water.
Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to see how deep the water is.
- Do not drive through a flooded area.
More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around road barriers; the road or bridges further down the road may be may be washed out.
- Stay away from power lines and electrical wires.
The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electric current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the Power Company or County Emergency Management Office.