Flood Zone Information
FEMA established that the effective date for the new Broward County flood maps was August 18, 2014. After the effective date, the finalized maps must be used by insurance companies for flood insurance purposes and the updated base flood elevations must be used for all new construction and substantial improvements to existing construction.
Flood maps are used to:
- Determine flood insurance purchase requirements;
- Determine flood insurance rates;
- Establish minimum finished-floor elevations for new construction and substantial improvements to existing structures.
By adopting the flood maps, Broward County is assured that FEMA will offer assistance during emergencies and provide flood insurance coverage for county residents.
Currently, residents and businesses in Broward County are encouraged to view the flood maps to better understand their potential flood risk and to help identify steps they may need to take to protect against property damage and loss.
Property owners should consider purchasing a flood insurance policy, even if it is not mandated for their location. All areas are susceptible to flooding, although to varying degrees.
Flood Zone Designations
The following flood zone designation determines whether or not flood insurance is mandated.
Flood insurance rate zone determined by approximate methods, as no Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) are available for these areas. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Flood insurance rate zone that corresponds with flood depths greater than 3 feet. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to areas of shallow flooding with average depths between 1 and 3 feet. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to coastal areas that have additional hazards associated with storm waves. Mandatory flood insurance requirements apply.
0.2 PCT Annual Chance Flood Hazard
Flood insurance rate zones that are outside the flood plain or the average flood depths of less than 1 foot. Flood insurance purchase is not mandatory.
Map Viewing Tools
BROWARD COUNTY MAPS
You can use the interactive map viewing tool to find out if your home or business is in a flood zone. This map was created by Broward County to allow easy access to the information contain on the FEMA Maps. It is located on Broward County’s Website at:
1) Click on “Interactive Tool for Current Flood Zones Maps” on the left side of the page and follow the instructions below.
a) Type in the address of your property in the area at the top right, above the map titled “Broward FEMA Flood Map Effective August 18, 2014”, and click on the magnifying glass to search.
b) Click on your property and the FEMA Flood Designations box will let you know your current FEMA flood zone designation.
Or, if you prefer to access the FEMA maps directly, go to this website:
- Type in the address of your property in the area at center left and press Search.
- Flood Map will display on the screen below and contain a dropped pin showing where your property is located within the flood zone.
About Vertical Datum
In an effort to reduce the effects of flooding, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. The Federal Emergency Management Agency updated the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for Broward County. One of the main goals of this effort is to more accurately define the boundaries of flood hazard areas, which are determined by comparing flood elevations with digital elevation data. To ensure that all the elevations used are based on a common reference system, a FIRM must reference a single vertical datum.
What is a Vertical Datum?
A vertical datum is a set of constants that defines a system for comparing elevations. If someone were to measure to measure the height of the ground you are standing on, they would need a point of reference, or a zero (0.0) point, to measure from. But where is that zero point? A vertical datum establishes a consistent zero point so elevations can be compared with one another even if the elevation measurements are taken by different people at different times or in different parts of the state.
Why is the Vertical Datum Changing?
For many years, the zero point used throughout the United States was based on “mean sea level” at 26 separate tidal stations in the US and Canada. This datum was referred to as the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29). The main assumption used to create NGVD 29 - water level is equal all along the coast and thus represents the same zero- later proved to be erroneous and was shown to create errors in the elevation data obtained using this datum. This means that using the outdated vertical datum, two different points measured at 0.0' NGVD 29 can have different actual elevations. In the NFIP, the vertical datum is crucial because all elevations need to be as accurate as possible and referenced to the same zero point. Otherwise, surveys may show different elevations for the same point, which could result in flooded structures and losses. Currently, the old FIRMs reference the outdated National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD 29). We can now more accurately measure vertical elevation differences using the new official U.S. vertical datum, the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88). With the new FIRM updates, this more accurate datum will be used (NAVD 88), resulting in an approximate difference of minus 1.51 feet between elevations shown on the new (2012) FIRM as opposed to the old (1997) FIRM.
When is the Vertical Datum Changing?
Elevations in NAVD 88 must be used for floodplain management and flood insurance purposes (e.g., elevation certificates) in Broward County. Also, as of January 30, 2011, the new datum must be used for all surveys and plans submitted with Environment Engineering and Licensing applications.
Who is Impacted by the Vertical Datum Change?
The change in vertical datum affects all those using FIRMs or submitting applications for building permits or environmental licenses in Broward County, including engineers, surveyors, developers, homeowners, lenders, insurance agents, realtors and floodplain administrators, especially when comparing elevation data on the new FIRMs, produced using NAVD 88, with data on older FIRMs produced using NGVD 29.
Points to Know
- Changing from a measuring method developed in 1929 to one developed in 1988 will mean greater accuracy in determining land and water elevations.
- Instead of relying on "mean sea level" to determine the elevation of a point, Broward County will utilize the sophisticated elevation reference system for the North American continent. Eventually, all cities and counties in North America will use this same network of vertical reference points to support many diversified uses.
- Broward County databases will retain information in both the NGVD 29 and the NAVD 88 vertical datums in order to maintain historical data.
- Anyone who uses elevation information in Broward County will need to know about, understand and apply the new measuring standards.
- A conversion application is available so that users can readily convert elevation data from NAVD 88 to NGVD 29, and vice versa. You will be able to compare "apples to apples" using the free conversion software VERTCON. In addition, FEMA has computed an average conversion factor of minus 1.51 (-1.51) that may be used to provide a more rough conversion between the two datums.
- It is always more precise to convert elevations to the more accurate NAVD 88 vertical datum from the NGVD 29 vertical datum. Because of inherent flaws in the NGVD 29 datum, values converted from NGVD 29 to NAVD 88 will not exceed the accuracy of the source data. If exacting elevations are required, a new survey utilizing NAVD 88 values should be considered.
Conversion Factor Example
A building finished floor elevation is shown on an existing elevation certificate as 10.0’ NGVD. The equivalent NAVD 88 elevation can be obtained using the FEMA-approved average conversion factor in the following formula:
NAVD 88 = NGVD 29 + conversion factor
NAVD 88 = 10.0’ NGVD + (-1.51)
NAVD 88 = 8.49
If you have any questions regarding vertical datum changes or the NFIP in general, please contact the FEMA Map Assistance Center toll free at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627).
Learn more about vertical datums and vertical datum conversion:
•South Florida Water Management District Vertical Datum Webpage
•Vertical Datum Conversion Software (VERTCON)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Flood Zone Map?
Flood zone maps, also called “Flood Insurance Rate Maps” or “FIRMs” are used to determine the flood risk to properties. The low- and moderate-risk zones are represented on the maps by the letter “X”, "0.2 PCT" or an “X” that is shaded. The inland high-risk zones will be labeled with designations such as “A”, “AE”, “AO” or “AH”, and coastal high-risk zones that have additional risk from storm surge will be labeled “V” or “VE”.
What's a floodplain? How do I determine if my property is in one?
A floodplain is the part of the land where water collects, pools, and flows during the course of natural events. Such areas are classified as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), and are located in a 100-year flood zone. The term “100-year flood” does not indicate a zone that will flood every 100 years. The term describes a zone with a flood elevation that has a 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded each year; it is not the flood that will occur once every 100 years. The likelihood of a flood occurring within a 100-year stretch of time is high, but there is no way to predict when the next flood will occur. The redrawn maps indicate the floodplain as a “high-risk” area, officially classified as an A, AE, AH, VE zone.
What are the benefits of the new flood hazard maps?
The map modernization project will benefit numerous groups of people in different ways:
- Community planners and local officials will gain a greater understanding of the flood hazards and risks that affect Broward County and can therefore improve local planning activities.
- Builders and developers will have access to more detailed information for making decisions on where to build and how construction can affect local flood hazard areas.
- Insurance agents, insurance companies, and lending institutions will have easy on-line access to updates and upcoming changes in order to serve their customers and community more efficiently.
- Home and business owners will have the ability to make better financial decisions about protecting their properties.
How do the new flood hazard maps affect me?
Neighborhoods across Broward County are affected differently by these map changes. There are some properties that weren’t affected and their risk remains the same. Other properties are now mapped into a higher-risk area and/or show a new Base Flood Elevation. There are other properties that were mapped into a lower-risk area and/or show a new Base Flood Elevation.
Will the new flood maps affect me financially?
Replacing household contents damaged by floods could place a significant financial burden on a homeowner or renter without flood insurance. Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Homeowner’s insurance policies do not generally cover damage from floods. However, because Pembroke Pines participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy from an insurance agent and benefit from the premium discount available to all Pembroke Pines residents. Flood insurance is backed by the federal government and is available to everyone, even for properties that have been flooded previously. Please note that unless there is a special condition of the mortgage, there normally is a 30-day waiting period between the time flood insurance is purchased and the time coverage is in force.
If your property is in the SFHA and you have a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender, flood insurance is required. Even if you do not have a mortgage and you live in the SFHA or you live outside of the SFHA, all property owners and renters should carefully consider the benefits of flood insurance to protect against significant financial losses from floods.
If you would like to know if your property is in a SFHA you can use Broward County’s interactive map viewer. You can also call 954-518-9040 and provide us your address and zip code.
If your structure was mapped into a high-risk area and you have a mortgage with a federally-regulated lender, you will need to purchase flood insurance. If your property is mapped into a low-or moderate-risk area, you may not be required to purchase or maintain insurance, but are strongly encouraged to do so. The cost of properly protecting your home and contents from flood damage is far less expensive than the cost to repair or replace it after a flood has occurred.
Talk to your insurance agent to determine the appropriate level of protection you need and the money savings options that are available.
For additional information about flood insurance, visit: https://www.floodsmart.gov/
You can also get additional information about South Florida Water Management District’s flood control efforts. (www.SFWMD.gov)
Why do I need Flood Insurance?
Information on different types of Flood Insurance
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