Flood Preparedness

Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Insurance, Flood Preparedness, and Availability of Flood Insurance Rate

The City of Apopka can provide our residents and businesses with of some very important information regarding the risk of floods in the City. The City is a participant in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Community Rating System (CRS), a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Please call the City of Apopka: Engineering Division at 407-703-1718 if you have questions or would like additional flood risk information in your area.

The Local Flood Hazard

Within our City, flooding has been historically caused by hurricanes, tropical storms, and heavy afternoon thunderstorms. The City receives most of our annual rainfall during the rainy season from June to November. Some areas within the City are low lying and adjacent to existing lakes such as Lake Hammer, Lake Alden, Lake McCoy, Dream Lake, Buchan Pond, Lake Francis, Lake Doe, Lake Errol, Lake Standish, Lake Pleasant, and Lake Page. Many homeowners and businesses do not carry flood insurance, which can result in high uninsured losses.

Flood Safety Measures

You can protect yourself from flood hazards by taking measures to ensure your safety and the safety of your property before, during, and after a flood occurs. Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of most flood deaths. Flowing water can be deceptive. Even only 6 inches of shallow, flowing, flood water can move an automobile or knock a person off of their feet. If you must walk through standing water, use a pole or stick to see how deep the water is before proceeding. Do not drive through flooded areas. Deep holes or washed-out roadways may not be visible from inside of your vehicle. Unfortunately, most flood related deaths occur by drowning within automobiles. Do not drive around road barrier, cones, or brightly colored marking tape. The City’s Public Services and our Police Department place barriers, cones, and/or brightly colored marking tape around dangerous areas and flooded areas to prevent injury and death.

Unfortunately, the second most common cause of flood related death is electrocution. Electrical current can easily travel through water. Stay away from power lines and electrical wires during and following a flood. Also make sure to turn off all gas lines that feed homes or businesses if a building is flooded or is likely to flood. Report downed power lines to the power company, broken gas lines to the gas company or both to the City’s Emergency Management Dispatch at 407-703-1757.

Flood Insurance

For many of us, our homes and its contents represent our greatest investments. Properly losses due to flooding are not covered under most standard homeowners’ insurance policies. You can protect your home and its contents with flood insurance if your home or business is within the City of Apopka or other participating communities like Unincorporated Orange County. The Federal Emergency Management Agency through its Federal Insurance Administration administers the NFIP. The City of Apopka has participated in the NFIP since 1990. FEMA  CRS Communities invest in flood management measures designed to protect life and property during floods.

To find out more about flood insurance for your property, please contact your insurance agent. There is usually a 30 day waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect so please don’t wait until a storm threatens before you secure flood insurance.

The following summarizes the amount of maximum coverage available to property owners:

Building Coverage

  • One to Four Family Residential Building is $250,000
  • Five or More Family Residential Building is $500,000
  • Non-Residential Business is $500,000

Contents Coverage

  • One to Four Family Residential Building is $100,000
  • Five or More Family Residential Building is $100,000
  • Non-Residential Business is $500,000

Property Protection Measures

Every year, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other type of natural disaster. While recent construction practices and regulations have made new homes less prone to flooding, many existing structures remain susceptible. Throughout the country there is a growing interest from property owners to develop practical and cost-effective methods for reducing or eliminating exposure to flooding. Several effective methods include acquisition and relocation of buildings to sites not subject to flooding, construction of flood walls, construction of berms, and retrofit of structures to prevent flood water from entering and damaging structures. 

When a flood threatens it is always advisable to take the following emergency actions:

  • Sand bag around exterior doors to reduce erosion and scour
  • Elevate furniture above flood protection levels
  • Create flood way openings in non-habitable areas such as garage door
  • Seal off sewer lines to the dwelling to prevent the back flow of sewer waters

Natural and Beneficial Functions

Wetland areas and buffers adjacent to streams help reduce flood damage. The flood waters in the natural floodplain are allowed to naturally spread over large, protected, floodplain areas. Spread of the floodplain into these areas reduces flood velocities, provides flood storage to reduce peak flows downstream, and improves water quality by filtering suspended particles out of the water. An example of a wide floodplain is the Beersman Branch, a tributary of Lake McCoy. This floodplain is located west of Ustler Road. The City Comprehensive Plan requires that City Staff help preserve natural areas in the floodplain. This can be done by avoiding construction in the floodplain, providing large buffers from natural areas, and full mitigation of even minor floodplain impacts.

Drainage System Maintenance

Maintenance of the City drainage systems is essential to maintain flood protection. We must be vigilant so that we do not lose a portion of our drainage system carrying or storage capacity. Please immediately report any dumping, debris, soil erosion, sedimentation, and overgrowth of vegetation in the City’s drainage system. If the drainage system becomes obstructed, then the system may flood more frequently and reach higher elevations that could affect structures not otherwise protected from flooding. Please also help keep flood protection systems cleaned by keeping all grass clippings, leaves, and other debris out of stormwater drainage systems.

If you experience any localized flooding or drainage problems including illegal dumping in the drainage system or illegal development in the floodplain, please contact the Engineering Division at 407-703-1718.

Floodplain Development Permit Requirements

Any development in the floodplain requires an approved development plan in accordance with the City of Apopka Land Development Code and a building permit. If you suspect illegal development, then please contact the Engineering Division at 407-703-1718.

Substantial Improvement Requirements

FEMA requires a value assessment for all improvements to structures located within the floodplain.  The City is required to determine if proposed improvements to structures in the floodplain are “substantial improvements.” FEMA defines “substantial improvements” as any repair of a structure that has been damaged or destroyed, reconstruction, improvement, or additions of a structure. The City Engineer or Floodplain Administrator is required to estimate the value of the existing structure and the value of the proposed improvements. If the cost of the improvement equals or exceeds 50% of the Orange County Property Appraiser’s assessed tax value of the structure, then the improvements are considered “substantial improvements.” The assessed value of the structure shall be considered the value of the structure prior to the flood and storm event. The value of the improvements is typically estimated by a Registered Florida Contractor with the approval of the City Engineer.

When substantial improvement of a damaged structure is needed, improvements must meet current building standards. Improvement to damaged structures deemed to be “Inhabitable” by the City Building Official must include raising the finished floor elevation of the structure above the floodplain elevation.

Flood Warning System

Residents should be aware that the City of Apopka has direct communication and coordination with Orange County’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan
(CEMP) that includes a variety of warning systems. This provides the citizens with up to the minute information on the impending storms or flood threats. The following stations serve the northwest area of Orange County and all of the City of Apopka:

AM / FM Radio: WMGF, WWKA, WFLF, WMFE
Television: WKMG, WFTV, WOFL, WESH, WKCF

When a storm or flood threatens to impact the county the Emergency Management staff monitors the event. The staff relies on information from the National Weather Service for detailed and site specific information regarding storm conditions and flood threats. Emergency Management staff disseminate watches, warnings, updates and evacuation notices.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), are on file in City Hall in the Community Development Department. As a public information service, the City provides the following FIRM  information if requested for properties within City limits:

  1. The Community Name
  2. The Map Number
  3. The Effective Date of the FIRM map
  4. The FIRM  zone (e.g. A, AE, AH, AO, A99, V, VE, X, D, etc.)
  5. The base flood elevation and depth in AO zones (if indicated on the map)
  6. The elevation datum used on the FIRM, if other than NGVD
  7. Any completed elevation certificates
  8. Problems areas not shown on the FIRM
  9. Natural Floodplain Functional Areas not shown on the FIRM

The Engineering Division’s Certified Floodplain Manager will make every effort to determine what flood zone a specific property is located within. Upon request, a copy of the FIRM  maps and other information is available for review and copies can be provided.

The City’s contact person for this service is Erin Arnold. Ms. Arnold can be reached at 407-703-1718.

Elevation certificates are available for review during normal office hours, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

Additional Information

Websites

Residents are encouraged to utilize the following website links. These web pages have been prepared to provide up-to-date and accurate flood information and recommendations to the public.

City Engineer and Certified Floodplain Manager

City Engineer Richard W. Earp is a Registered Professional Engineer in Florida and a Certified Floodplain Manager. Mr. Earp would be more than happy to answer your floodplain, drainage, and stormwater management related questions by appointment here at City Hall or by telephone at 407-703-1718. 

City of Apopka Floodplain Information Library

The Engineering Division is located on the 2nd Floor of City Hall. Our library contains FEMA  floodplain related books, pamphlets, and other materials. Material may be reviewed in our office. As an example, our Engineering Division Library includes:

  • Floodplain Management in Florida – Quick Guide, by Florida Division of Emergency Management
  • FEMA NFIP Answers to Questions About the NFIP
  • FEMA  Protecting Buildings Utility Systems from Flood Damage
  • FEMA NFIP Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage
  • FEMA  Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction
  • FEMA  Reducing Damage from Localized Flooding
  • FEMA  NFIP Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance Guidelines

Orange County Library: North Orange Branch in Apopka

The Orange County Library North Orange Branch is located at 1211 East Semoran Boulevard, Apopka, FL 32703. They can be reached by visiting the local branch, by email at PublicRecordRequest@ocls.info, or by Phone: 407-835-7323. 

As an example, information at our local branch includes:

  • Coastal construction manual: principles and practices of planning, siting, designing, constructing, and maintaining residential buildings in coastal areas / FEMA.
  • Elevated residential structures / the American Institute of Architects Foundation / FEMA.
  • Above the flood: elevating your flood prone house / Federal Emergency Management Agency / FEMA.
  • Answers to questions about the NFIP / FEMA.
  • Protecting manufactured homes from floods and other hazards: a multi-hazard foundation and installation guide / FEMA.
  • Reducing damage from localized flooding: a guide for communities / U.S. Department of Homeland Security / FEMA.