Flood Awareness

This page has been created by the Development Department to serve as a "one stop" flood information source for residents, businesses, and property owners. Its intent is to: 

  • Promote greater public awareness and understanding of the flood threat in the City of Boynton Beach; 
  • Offer practical guidance on preparing for, mitigating against, and recovering from flood events; 
  • Provide information on important federal, state, and local loss reduction programs, services and initiatives; 
  • Answer commonly asked questions regarding flood insurance, flood zones, warning systems, evacuation and other flood related topics; and 
  • List key contacts and links where flood information and assistance can be found.

SECTIONS:

Background  What is a Flood?  Facts
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Mapping - Is Your Property in a Flood Hazard Area? Insurance
Regulations Glossary Flood Zones
The Community Rating System Property Protection Measures Flood Safety
Hurricane Shelters Flood Mitigation Plan Important Links

Background

The City of Boynton Beach is very vulnerable to severe damage caused by high winds and associated flooding.  Most people consider their home and its contents their largest investment.  However, most standard homeowner insurance policies do not cover flood damage.  Therefore, it is very important to know that separate flood insurance policies backed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are available and affordable, in case of a future flood event that is caused by a hurricane, tropical storm, heavy rain, or other condition.

What is a Flood?

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a flood is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder's property) from one of the following:

  • Overflow of inland or tidal waters;
  • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source;
  • Mudflow; or
  • Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.

For a more thorough explanation of floods and floodplains, please review National Flood Insurance Program – NFIP “Floodplain Management Requirements – A Study Guide and Desk Reference for Local Officials”

Facts

Did You Know?

  • Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters outside of fire 
  • 90% of all presidential-declared U.S. natural disasters involve flooding 
  • Floods occur within all 50 states (they can occur any time, anywhere) 
  • Communities particularly at risk are those in low lying areas, coastal areas, or downstream from large bodies of water 
  • 25% of flooding occurs outside areas formally designated as being flood prone (i.e. Special Flood Hazard Areas) 
  • Nation-wide, flooding caused more than $4 billion a year in losses and 2,200 deaths in the 1990's 
  • There is a 26% chance of experiencing a flood during the life of a 30 year mortgage (more than 6 times the likelihood of a fire) 
  • Even minor flooding can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in losses and repairs 
  • Flood damage is virtually never covered by standard homeowners insurance 
  • Flood insurance purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is relatively inexpensive (the average premium for $100,000 coverage is a little over $300 per year at this writing) 
  • Today NFIP insures more than 4 million policyholders in more than 19,000 communities in the U.S 
  • Florida residents and businesses hold more than 40% of all flood insurance policies in the nation

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves.  The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP.  Participating communities, such as the City of Boynton Beach, agree to adopt and enforce ordinances that meet or exceed FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.  The three (3) tenants to the NFIP are as follows:  

  • Mapping 
  • Insurance 
  • Regulation

Click here to view the NFIP fact sheet from FEMA.gov.

Mapping - Is Your Property in a Flood Hazard Area?

As we have learned, flood hazard areas are defined as any area that has a 1% chance of flooding in any given year (a.k.a. the 100 year flood).  You should become informed as to the flood hazard potential for your property.  The following options will help you find out if your property is located in a flood zone: 

  • The City of Boynton Beach Development Department will review the best available floodplain information and studies on file to determine the location of your property with respect to the floodplain.  The Development Department can also provide site-specific information, such as elevation, historical, and property protection alternatives.  You may contact the Development Department at 561-742-6350 for assistance with this information. 
  • If you would like to review FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) yourself, they are available for public viewing at the FEMA Map Service Center website.

Insurance

Did you know that there is a 26% chance a structure will flood over the life of a 30-year mortgage?  You can protect your home and its contents through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  Flood insurance is required by law in order to obtain federally secure financing to buy, build, or renovate a structure located in a flood hazard area.  This financing includes federal grants, FHA and VA loans, and most conventional mortgage loans.

Flood insurance policies aren’t just for owners - renters can purchase policies too!  Flood insurance policies are obtained through local property insurance agents.  The agents may sell a policy from on the Write Your Own insurance companies or a “direct” policy through FEMA.  Both approaches will result in the issuance of a “Standard Flood Insurance Policy” that meets all the requirements and rates set by FEMA.  Flood insurance coverage is provided for insurable buildings and their contents for properties located in the City of Boynton Beach, which is a participating community of the NFIP.  In fact, policy owners receive a 15% discount because the City participates in the NFIP Community Rating System (CRS).

Click here to find a qualified insurance agent (FloodSmart.gov).

Regulations

Background

The City of Boynton Beach participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  In return for NFIP making flood insurance available to property owners, the City is required to adopt ordinances to manage development within 100-year floodplains to prevent increased flooding and minimize future flood damage.  Flood Insurance Rate Maps, published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are used as the basis for delineating the 100-year floodplain and identifying regulated land.  Development is broadly defined by NFIP to include any man-made change to land, including grading, filling, dredging, extraction, storage, subdivision of land, as well as the construction or improvement of structures.  Proposed development must not increase flooding or create a dangerous situation during flooding, especially on neighboring properties.  If a structure is involved, it must be constructed to minimize damage during flooding.  Permitting officials work with applicants to discourage development in the floodplain wherever possible, but when unavoidable, the effects of development must be minimized.  The permitting review process may seem cumbersome at times, but it is a requirement for continued community participation in the NFIP.  Violations can not only jeopardize a community's standing in the NFIP, but they can impact the ability of residents to obtain flood insurance.  If you see development occurring without permits, protect your rights by reporting violators to the Building Division by calling 561-742-6350.

The Code of Federal Regulations

In order to participate in the NFIP, the City of Boynton Beach has adopted and currently enforces floodplain management regulations that meet or exceed the minimum NFIP standards and requirements.  These standards are intended to prevent the loss of life and property, as well as economic and social hardships that result from flooding.  The NFIP requirements can be found in Chapter 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR).  44 CFR requires that all new construction and substantial improvements of residential structures located within the floodplain (e.g., Special Flood Hazard Area) shall be elevated to the base flood elevation (BFE), which is the point in elevation that surface water resulting from a flood has a one (1) percent chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year.  The BFE is the national standard used by the NFIP and all federal agencies for the purposes of requiring the purchase of flood insurance and regulating new development.

City of Boynton Beach Regulations

In addition to 44 CFR, the City of Boynton Beach has also adopted the City’s Flood Prevention Code, which can be found in the land development regulations (Part III, Chapter 4, Article X).  While not required by the NFIP, each community is encouraged by FEMA to adopt higher regulatory standards, such as the freeboard requirement.  Freeboard is simply requiring structures to be elevated above the BFE.  Freeboard requirements for additions and/or substantial improvements require the existing building to be elevated to the base flood elevation only, which is still in compliance with 44 CFR.  New building construction however, is required to be elevated at least one (1) foot above the BFE.

Elevation of New and Substantially Improved Structures

Damage to "new" and "substantially improved" floodplain structures is minimized by elevating the lowest floor of occupied areas a specified amount above the 100-year flood elevation.  Substantially improved structures are those where the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvements equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value.  Substantially improved structures are subject to the same elevation standards as new structures.

Elevation Certificates

To verify that a building has been properly elevated, the City of Boynton Beach requires the completion of an Elevation Certificate by a professional engineer or surveyor.  After the lowest floor is in place, its elevation above sea level is determined by a survey.  The Elevation Certificate is part of the permit record and must be submitted before the building may be occupied.

Further information on the requirements for floodplain development, the permitting process and Elevation Certificates can be obtained from the Building Division by calling 561-742-6350.  Click building records to view Elevation Certificates that have been archived by street address, if available. 

Glossary

100-year flood: The flood having a 1% or greater annual probability of occurring.

500-year flood: The flood having a 0.2% or greater annual probability of occurring.

Base Flood: A flood having a 1-percent probability of being equaled or exceeded in any given year; also referred to as the 100-year flood.

Base Flood Elevation (BFE): Defined by FEMA as the elevation of the crest of the base or 100-year flood relative to mean sea level.  BFE is not depth of flooding.  To determine depth of flooding, you would need to subtract the lowest elevation of a particular property from the BFE.

Community Number: A 6-digit designation identifying each NFIP community.  The first two numbers are the state code.  The next four are the FIMA-assigned community number.  An alphabetical suffix is added to a community number to identify revisions in the Flood Insurance Rate Map for that community.

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM): An official map of a community, on which the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration has delineated both the Special Flood hazard Area's and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.  Most FIRM's include detailed floodplain mapping for some or all of a community's floodplains.

Floodplain: Any land area susceptible to being inundated by floodwaters from any source.

Freeboard: A margin of safety added to the base flood elevation to account for waves, debris, miscalculations, or lack of data.

Panel: Panel number is numerical designation used to identify the FIRM Map associated with a given area.  The first six digits of the Panel number is the community number.

Panel Date: This is the date recorded in the FEMA FMSIS database, which is associated with the given Panel Number.

Repetitive Loss Property: A property for which two or more National Flood Insurance Program losses of at least $1,000 each have been paid within any 10 year period since 1978.

Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA): An area designated as within a "Special Flood Hazard Area" (or SFHA) on a FIRM.  This is an area inundated by 1% annual chance flooding for which BFEs or velocity may have been determined. No distinctions are made between the different flood hazard zones that may be included within the SFHA.  These may include Zones A, AE, AO, AH, A99, AR, V, or VE.

Flood Zones

Flood zones are geographic areas that FEMA has defined according to varying levels of flood risk.  These zones are depicted on the City’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Hazard Boundary Map.  Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.

Moderate to Low Risk Areas

In communities that participate in the NFIP, flood insurance is available to all property owners and renters in these zones:

ZONE

Description

B and X (shaded)

Area of moderate flood hazard, usually the area between the limits of the 100-year and 500-year floods. Are also used to designate base floodplains of lesser hazards, such as areas protected by levees from 100-year flood, or shallow flooding areas with average depths of less than one foot or drainage areas less than 1 square mile.

C and X (unshaded)

Area of minimal flood hazard, usually depicted on FIRMs as above the 500-year flood level.

High Risk Areas

In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones:

ZONE

Description

A

Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding and a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.  Because detailed analyses are not performed for such areas; no depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.

AE

The base floodplain where base flood elevations are provided.  AE Zones are now used on new format FIRMs instead of A1-A30 Zones.

A1-30

These are known as numbered A Zones (e.g., A7 or A14).  This is the base floodplain where the FIRM shows a BFE (old format).

AH

Areas with a 1% annual chance of shallow flooding, usually in the form of a pond, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet.  These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.

AO

River or stream flood hazard areas and areas with a 1% or greater chance of shallow flooding each year, usually in the form of sheet flow, with an average depth ranging from 1 to 3 feet.  These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Average flood depths derived from detailed analyses are shown within these zones.

AR

Areas with a temporarily increased flood risk due to the building or restoration of a flood control system (such as a levee or a dam). Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements will apply, but rates will not exceed the rates for unnumbered A zones if the structure is built or restored in compliance with Zone AR floodplain management regulations.

A99

Areas with a 1% annual chance of flooding that will be protected by a Federal flood control system where construction has reached specified legal requirements. No depths or base flood elevations are shown within these zones.

High Risk – Coastal Areas

In communities that participate in the NFIP, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply to all of these zones:

ZONE

Description

V

Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage. No base flood elevations are shown within these zones.

VE, V1 - 30

Coastal areas with a 1% or greater chance of flooding and an additional hazard associated with storm waves. These areas have a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.  Base flood elevations derived from detailed analyses are shown at selected intervals within these zones.

Undetermined Risk Areas

ZONE

Description

D

Areas with possible but undetermined flood hazards.  No flood hazard analysis has been conducted. Flood insurance rates are commensurate with the uncertainty of the flood risk.

The Community Rating System

The Community Rating System (CRS) is one of the best programs for encouraging and recognizing broad-based local flood hazard mitigation programs.  The CRS is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.  The CRS, which is managed by the Insurance Services Office, Inc. on behalf of FEMA, is a “win-win” program because participating in it helps reduce the cost of flood insurance premiums for all policy holders as well as reducing our vulnerability to floods.  The discounts are given to policy owners because the City of Boynton Beach meets the three goals of the CRS program.  The goals of the CRS program are to: 

  1. Reduce flood losses; 
  2. Facilitate accurate insurance rating; and 
  3. Promote the awareness of flood insurance. 

The CRS classes for local communities are based on 18 creditable activities, organized under four categories. 

  1. Public Information 
  2. Mapping and Regulations 
  3. Flood Damage Reduction 
  4. Flood Preparedness

The FEMA CRS Resource Center is now available to the public.  You can check out the FEMA fact sheet or review the list of all communities participating in the CRS by clicking here.  The CRS premium discounts from FEMA are shown below in Table 2.

TABLE 2. CRS PREMIUM DISCOUNTS

CLASS
DISCOUNT
CLASS
DISCOUNT
1
45%
6
20%
2
40%
7
15%
3
35%
8
10%
4
30%
9
5%
5
25%
10
-

SFHA (Zones A, AE, A1-A30, V, V1-V30, AO, and AH): Discount varies depending on class.

SFHA (Zones A9, AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/A1-A30, AR/AH, and AR/AO): 10% discount for Classes 1-6; 5% discount for Classes 7-9.*

Non-SFHA (Zones B, C, X, D): 10% discount for Classes 1-6; 5% discount for Classes 7-9.

* In determining CRS Premium Discounts, all AR and A99 Zones are treaed as non-SFHAs.

Flood insurance premium rates are discounted in increments of 5%.  For example; a Class 1 community would receive a 45% premium discount, while a Class 9 community would receive a 5% discount (a Class 10 is not participating in the CRS and receives no discount).  The City of Boynton Beach is currently a Class 7 rating.  This means that policyholders receive a 15% reduction of flood insurance premiums.  Click here for additional information and resources regarding the CRS program

Property Protection Measures

One protection measure that costs nothing is the simple task of elevating your valuables, if flooding is predicted.  This involves putting them on counters, upper cabinets, attics, or upper floors.

Measures to protect a property from flood damage include retrofitting, re-grading your yard, and correcting local drainage problems.  As the City of Boynton Beach is located within a hurricane region, consider installing storm shutters and reinforcing your garage door. If your property has a low finished floor elevation, you may consider retrofitting your structure.  Retrofitting can include elevating the structure, flood-proofing doors and walls, re-grading, or installing earthen berms and/or concrete walls.  Although these remedies may require a considerable investment, they could help protect your property during flooding.

Flood Safety

Plan for a Flood

Develop a Family Disaster Plan.  Please see the "Family Disaster Plan" section for general family planning information.  Develop flood- specific planning.  Learn about your area's flood risk by contacting the local Red Cross chapter, emergency management office, local National Weather Service office, or the Building Division.

If you are at risk from floods: 

  • Talk to your insurance agent.  Homeowners' policies do not cover flooding.  Ask about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). 
  • Use a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-alert feature, or a portable, battery-powered radio (or television) for updated emergency information. 
  • Develop an evacuation plan.  Everyone in your family should know where to go if they have to leave.  Trying to make plans at the last minute can be upsetting and create confusion. 
  • Discuss floods with your family. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together.  Discussing floods ahead of time helps reduce fear and anxiety and lets everyone know how to respond.

What to Tell Children 

  • If you come upon floodwaters, stop, turn around, and go another way.  Climb to higher ground.  If it is moving swiftly, even water six inches deep can knock you off your feet.  Many people are swept away wading through floodwaters, resulting in injury or death. 
  • Stay away from flooded areas.  Even if it seems safe, floodwaters may still be rising. 
  • Never try to walk, swim, drive, or play in floodwater. You may not be able to see on the surface how fast floodwater is moving or see holes and submerged debris. 
  • If you are in a vehicle and become surrounded by water, if you can get out safely, do so immediately and move to higher ground.  Vehicles can be swept away in two feet of water. 
  • Watch out for snakes in areas that were flooded.  Flood waters flush snakes from their homes. 
  • Stay away from lake and canal banks in flooded and recently flooded areas.  The soaked banks often become unstable due to heavy rainfall and can suddenly give way, tossing you into rapidly moving water. 
  • Never play around high water, storm drains, ditches, ravines, or culverts.  It is very easy to be swept away by fast moving water. 
  • Throw away all food that has come into contact with flood waters. Contaminated flood water contains bacteria and germs.  Eating foods exposed to flood waters can make you very sick.

How to Protect Your Property 

  • Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box.  You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged during a flood. 
  • Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home. Some communities do not permit building in known floodplains. If there are no restrictions, and you are building in a floodplain, take precautions, making it less likely your home will be damaged during a flood. 
  • Raise your furnace, water heater, and electric panel to higher floors or the attic if they are in areas of your home that may be flooded. Raising this equipment will prevent damage.  An undamaged water heater may be your best source of fresh water after a flood. 
  • Install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.  As a last resort, when floods threaten, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins. 
  • Construct barriers such as levees, berms, and flood walls to stop flood water from entering the building.  Permission to construct such barriers may be required by local building codes.  Check building codes and ordinances for safety requirements. 
  • Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks. 
  • Consult with a construction professional for further information if these and other damage reduction measures can be taken. Check local building codes and ordinances for safety requirements. 
  • Contact your local emergency management office for more information on mitigation options to further reduce potential flood damage. Your local emergency management office may be able to provide additional resources and information on ways to reduce potential damage.

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit

Flood-specific supplies should include the following:

Disaster Supplies Kit basics
Evacuation Supply Kit

If you live in a frequently flooded area, stockpile emergency building materials.  These include plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, nails, hammer and saw, pry bar, sand, shovels, and sandbags.

What to Do Before Flooding Occurs 

  • If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily raining for several days, be alert to the possibility of a flood.  Floods happen as the ground becomes saturated. 
  • Use a NOAA Weather Radio or a portable, battery-powered radio (or television) for updated emergency information.  Local stations provide the best advice for your particular situation. 
  • Listen for distant thunder.  In some types of terrain, runoff from a faraway thunderstorm could be headed your way.

What to Do if Your Are Driving During a Flood 

  • Avoid already flooded areas, and areas subject to sudden flooding.  Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Most flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water, or people playing in high water.  The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.  Rapidly rising water may stall the engine, engulf the vehicle and its occupants, and sweep them away.  Look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges, and low areas.  Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles. 
  • If you are driving and come upon rapidly rising waters, turn around and find another route.  Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks, and storm drains.  If your route is blocked by flood waters or barricades, find another route.  Barricades are put up by local officials to protect people from unsafe roads.  Driving around them can be a serious risk. 
  • If your vehicle becomes surrounded by water or the engine stalls, and if you can safely get out, abandon your vehicle immediately and climb to higher ground.  Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.  When a vehicle stalls in the water, the water's momentum is transferred to the car.  The lateral force of a foot of water moving at 10 miles per hour is about 500 pounds on the average automobile.  The greatest effect is buoyancy - for every foot that water rises up the side of a car, it displaces 1,500 pounds of the car's weight.  So, two (2) feet of water moving at 10 miles per hour will float virtually any car.  Many persons have been swept away by flood waters upon leaving their vehicles, which are later found without much damage.  Use caution when abandoning your vehicle, and look for an opportunity to move away quickly and safely to higher ground.

What to Do After a Flood

  • Seek necessary medical care at the nearest hospital or clinic.  Contaminated flood waters lead to a greater possibility of infection.  Severe injuries will require medical attention. 
  • Help a neighbor who may require special assistance - infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance.  People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations. 
  • Avoid disaster areas.  Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations, and put you at further risk from the residual effects of floods, such as contaminated waters, crumbled roads, landslides, mudflows, and other hazards. 
  • Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or television stations and return home only when authorities indicate it is safe to do so.  Flood dangers do not end when the water begins to recede; there may be flood-related hazards within your community, which you could hear about from local broadcasts. 
  • Stay out of any building if flood waters remain around the building.  Flood waters often undermine foundations, causing sinking, floors can crack or break and buildings can collapse. 
  • Avoid entering ANY building (home, business, or other) before local officials have said it is safe to do so.  Buildings may have hidden damage that makes them unsafe.  Gas leaks or electric or waterline damage can create additional problems. 
  • Report broken utility lines to the appropriate authorities.  Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.  Check with your utility company now about where broken lines should be reported. 
  • Avoid smoking inside buildings.  Smoking in confined areas can cause fires. 
  • When entering buildings, use extreme caution. Building damage may have occurred where you least expect it. Watch carefully every step you take. 
  • Wear sturdy shoes. The most common injury following a disaster is cut feet. 
  • Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings.  Battery-powered lighting is the safest and easiest, preventing fire hazard for the user, occupants, and building. 
  • Examine walls, floors, doors, staircases, and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing. 
  • Inspect foundations for cracks or other damage.  Cracks and damage to a foundation can render a building uninhabitable. 
  • Look for fire hazards.  There may be broken or leaking gas lines, flooded electrical circuits, or submerged furnaces or electrical appliances. Flammable or explosive materials may travel from upstream.  Fire is the most frequent hazard following floods. 
  • Check for gas leaks.  If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home.  If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional. 
  • Look for electrical system damage.  If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker.  If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice. Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service. 
  • Check for sewage and waterline damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber.  If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid using water from the tap.  You can obtain safe water from undamaged water heaters or by melting ice cubes. 
  • Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes, which may have come into buildings with the flood waters.  Use a stick to poke through debris. Flood waters flush snakes and many animals out of their homes. 
  • Watch for loose plaster, drywall, and ceilings that could fall. 
  • Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.

After Returning Home 

  • Throw away food that has come in contact with flood waters.  Some canned foods may be salvageable.  If the cans are dented or damaged, throw them away. Food contaminated by flood waters can cause severe infections. 
  • If water is of questionable purity, boil or add bleach, and distill drinking water before using.  (See information on water treatment under the "Disaster Supplies Kit" section.)  Wells inundated by flood waters should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking. If in doubt, call your local public health authority.  Ill health effects often occur when people drink water contaminated with bacteria and germs. 
  • Pump out flooded basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage.  If the water is pumped completely in a short period of time, pressure from water- saturated soil on the outside could cause basement walls to collapse. 
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible.  Damaged sewage systems are health hazards.

Hurricane Shelters

Seminole Ridge High School, 4601 Seminole Pratt Whitney Road, Loxahatchee, 33470

West Gate Elementary School, 1545 Loxahatchee Drive, West Palm Beach, 33406

Forest Hill High School, 6901 Parker Avenue, West Palm Beach, 33405

Palm Beach Central High School, 8499 Forest Hill Boulevard, Wellington, 33413

John I. Leonard High School, 4701 10th Avenue North, Greenacres, 33463

Park Vista High School, 7900 Jog Road, Boynton Beach, 33427

Boynton Beach Community High School, 4975 Park Ridge Boulevard, Boynton Beach, 33436

Atlantic Community High School, 2455 West Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, 33445

Boca Raton High School, 1501 NW 15th Court, Boca Raton, 33486

West Boca Raton High School, 12811 Glades Road, Boca Raton, 33428

Flood Mitigation Plan

Under Construction

Important Links

American Red Cross – Palm Beach/Treasure Coast

FEMA

FEMA Map Service Center

Floodsmart.gov

Florida Division of Emergency Management

National Flood Insurance Program

National Weather Service

Palm Beach County Flood Awareness

Palm Beach Post

South Florida Water Management District Emergency Management