Office of Emergency Management
CHARLOTTE COUNTY FLOOD AND FLOOD INSURANCE INFORMATION
Areas prone to flooding include:
- Barrier and offshore islands;
- Areas near rivers, creeks, or canals;
- Low areas including those with elevations of less than 10 feet above mean sea level
In Charlotte County, flooding can occur from several inches of rainfall in a short period of time, or from several days of scattered rainfall. Extreme high tides from a tropical storm or hurricane can cause flooding.
The following maps show areas vulnerable to the different levels of storm surge and areas subject to flood from a 100-year rainfall event and a 500-year rainfall event:
Charlotte County Evacuation Zones (4.3 MB pdf)
Click on map for larger view
- Pink = VZone (velocity zone)
- Green = A Zone (100 year floodplain)
- Yellow = X Zone (500 year floodplain)
- Brown = D Zone (undetermined flood zone)
For information on the flood risk to a specific property, please visit the Charlotte County GIS Mapping Web Site at www.ccgis.com
Charlotte County’s Flood Warning System
The biggest threat of general flooding is during the hurricane season (June throughNovember). Residents should tune toTV and radio weather broadcasts and be alert to special local advisories. Local radio and TV stations will carry advisories for our area:
- WKII (AM 1070)
- WCCF (AM 1580)
- WENG (AM 1530)
- WGCU (FM 90.1)
- WIKX (FM 92.9)
- WCVU (FM 104.9)
- WBBH Channel 20 (Cable Channel 2)
- WINK Channel 11 (Cable Channel 5)
- WFTX Channel 36 (Cable Channel 4)
- WZVN Channel 26 (Cable Channel 7)
- SNN Channel 6 (Cable)
- WWSB Channel 40
The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) maintains contact with the National WeatherService and National Hurricane Center and relays updates of threatening weather togovernment, media, hospitals, and nursing homes. The OEM can override the cable broadcast system to provide the public with information on storms, flood watches, and flood warnings. Law enforcement and fire-rescue officials have the ability to deliver flood warning messages if a storm develops at night with no opportunity for prior warning to the public. Another source of information is the NOAA Weather Radio. Flood watches and warnings will be broadcast on these radios as soon asthey are issued by the National Weather Service.
Evacuation routes are identified in the telephone directory. Assistance inevacuation can be arranged for eligible parties by registering with the Officeof Emergency Management. Call 833-4000 for information on the Special Needs Program.
Because of low land elevations and the high water tables over much of our area, flooding is likely to occur insome areas during summer rain showers and thunderstorms. The canal network and drainage ditches will alleviate some flooding affects. However, if there is too much rain for them to handle, flooding will occur throughout the county.
Protective Actions to Take Before, During and After Flooding:
1. Keep a stock of food that does not need to be cooked.
2. Keep a first aid kit available.
3. Keep your vehicle fueled.
4. Consider purchasing flood insurance for your home and your belongings. For further information contact your insurance agent. Homeowners policies do not cover damage due to rising water.
5. Tune the radio, television, or NOAA weather radio in to get the most current information on the situation.
6. Obey warnings from officials. Evacuate when notice is issued.
7. Know where to evacuate to.
8. Know what supplies to take with you.
9. Shut off electricity and water to your house prior to leaving.
10. Be cautious and avoid flood prone areas when leaving.
During Flood Stage:
1. Stay on higher ground.
2. Do not drive on flooded roads. Even though you may think it is safe to drive, you may strand yourself if your vehicle stalls. DO NOT drive around barricades. Driving through water increases the amount of water pushed into people's homes.
3. If your vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. It can be replaced. Your life cannot.
4. Don't attempt to wade across any moving water that is higher than your knees.
After the Flood Stage
1. Do not eat fresh food that has come into contact with flood water.
2. Drink only bottled water.
3. Stay away from disaster areas. You will only hamper rescue and recovery efforts.
4. Do not handle live electrical equipment.
5. Report downed power lines to law enforcement or to the power company.
6. Stay tuned to your portable radio for additional information on the situation.
Flooding is not covered by normal home-owners insurance. You can protect your home and its contents from flood loss through the National Flood Insurance Program. Contactany licensed property or casualty broker for more information. The Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, and Englewood Public Libraries have a list of local brokers and agents known to be Program participants. Additional information on personal and property flood protection can befound at these locations.
FOR BUILDINGS FOR CONTENTS
• Single Family • Residential
• Mobile Homes • Small Business*
• Small Business* • Other Structures
• Other Structures
*Check with your insurance agent to see if you qualify.
Flood Insurance Facts
• Flood insurance is available for most enclosed buildings, including contents. This includes homes, condominiums, mobile homes on foundations, businesses, and farms. The contents of a rental unit are also insurable.
• There is a 30-day waiting period from the policy purchase date until coverage begins with a few exceptions. One such exception is that coverage becomes effective immediately at the time of a house title transfer. Also, special rules apply to repair of substantially damaged structures, including those with more than 50% damage, or who have made improvements to their home which exceed 50% of the structural value of the home.
• Flood insurance is necessary to obtain federally secured loans to buy, build, or renovate a structure located in a flood hazard area. This includes federal grants, FHA, and VA loans, as well as most conventional mortgage loans.
• Check to See If Your Property is Within A Designated Flood Hazard Area. Do this even if you do not (or did not) require a mortgage loan to purchase your house or business. To protect yourself, purchase flood insurance if your property is in a designated flood hazard area.
If your home receives flood water damage, whether or not you purchased flood insurance is important. The type and amount of federal disaster assistance available to you can be severely reduced if you are not insured.
Propery Protection Measures
In some locations, contents can be protected through flood proofing measures such as sandbagging. Portable property can also be elevated above anticipated flood levels. You can also take certain actions to retrofit your home to protect it from wind and water damage. All General Contractors registered in Charlotte County are capable of retrofitting your home or business - Find a Contractor.Visit the Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, and Englewood Libraries for more information on this subject.
Further information can also be found at the web site for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Under the “Flood plain Management” heading, there are several resources on how you can protect your property.
Development in Flood Prone Lands is Restricted
Charlotte County and the City of Punta Gorda have special requirements concerning all forms of construction in flood hazard areas. For further information call:
County: Building Dept.- 743-1201
Zoning Dept. - 743-1240
City: Building Dept.- 575-3346
Zoning Dept. - 575-3324
Drainage Systems Require Maintenance
Charlotte County is interlaced with a system of canals,ditches, and waterways that serve to direct the flow of floodwater. It is most important that these elements of the floodwater drainage system be kept clear of debris and trash that could impede the flow of water in a flooding situation. Dumping of debris and trash in the drainage system or alteration of the channels is prohibited. Violators should bereported to law enforcement or public works officials.
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office: 639-2101
Charlotte County Public Works: 575-3600
Punta Gorda Police Department: 639-4111
Punta Gorda Public Works: 575-5050
Natural and Beneficial Function
In Charlotte County, water drains naturally into Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. This natural flow of water is important, for if it is impeded or disturbed, floodingmay occur in areas where runoff water cannot drain properly. Impeding water flow can also disturb wildlife and environmental interests in streams and estuaries, such as those found in Charlotte Harbor. It is important that citizens and businesses take this into account during development of property and maintenance of drainage systems. Consult with local planning and zoning officials for information on protecting the natural and beneficial functions of the floodplain in Charlotte County.
Terms You Should Know
- Coastal Flood Watch - An alert to expect wind-forced flooding along low-lying coastal areas is weather patterns develop as forecasted.
- Coastal Flood Warning - A warning of imminent, wind-forcedflooding along coastal areas.
- Flood Warning - A warning that gives the expected severity of flooding (minor, moderate, or major) and whereand when flooding will take place.
- Hurricane Watch - Notice of potential hurricane conditions; it does not mean that they are imminent.
- Hurricane Warning - Notice of imminent hurricane conditions. Personal and property protection actions should be taken.
- Tropical Storm Watch - An announcement that tropical storm conditions pose a potential threat to specific coastal areas.
- Tropical Storm Warning - A warning of tropical storm conditions with possible sustained winds of 39-73m.p.h. in specific coastal areas within 24 hours.
- FIRM - Flood Insurance Rate Map
- 50% Rule - A building in the flood hazard area having damage, fromany cause, that exceeds 50% of its market value must meet current flood zone construction codes before construction will be permitted.
- NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program
Sources for Further Information
The Charlotte County Library System, Mid-County Library maintains flood hazard area maps and references concerning flood protection and preparedness. Call 941-613-3160. Flood maps are also available at the Port Charlotte branch at 2280 Aaron Street; the Punta Gorda Library, 424 W. Henry Street and the Englewood Charlotte Library, 3450 McCall Road.
The Charlotte County Zoning Department at 18500 Murdock Circle, County Administration Building , Port Charlotte, can advise of the flood hazard pertaining to specific parcels. Call (941)743-1240. The Charlotte County Building Department will also assist with onsite visits to advise of flood protection steps and can provide information on contractors experienced in flood reconstruction and renovation. For more information, call (941) 743-1216. The City of Punta Gorda Planning and Zoning Department in the City Hall Annex at 326 W. Marion Ave. can provide the same information and services for property in Punta Gorda. Call(941) 575-3324.
The Office of Emergency Management at the Public Safety Building, 26571 Airport Road in Punta Gorda (across from the Charlotte County Airport), can address questions concerning community and individual flood preparedness activities. For more information, call (941) 833-4000.
View Video: How to Reduce Damage from Repetitive Flood Loss
Charlotte County has a history of flooding due to rainfall events a storm surge events. The following is a listing of dates in which Charlotte County residents have submitted flood insurance claims to the National Flood Insurance Program. The dollar figures reflected in the figures below include damage to county infrastructure, along with damages to homes and businesses.
HISTORICAL FLOOD DATA
- June 2003 -
Between 16” and 20” of rain fell across the county within a 24 hour period. Approximately $4.7 million in damages occurred to public infrastructure. 41 living units were affected with an estimated $50,000 in damage.
- September 2001 - Tropical Storm Gabrielle
Direct hit from tropical storm caused widespread flooding along Shoreview Drive and Gulf Blvd. Significant flooding also took place in the City of Punta Gorda. Over 300 homes were affected with minor-moderate levels of flooding. Estimated damages to infrastructure, residences, and businesses are between $4-6 million.
- September 2000 - Hurricane Gordon
Passing Hurricane caused flooding in the Manasota Key area along Shoreview Drive and Gulf Blvd. Other areas included the Peace River shoreline area in Punta Gorda. Flood Insurance claims totaled over $132,584.02.
- September, 1999 - Tropical Storm Harvey (no landfall)
Passing tropical storm caused flooding in the Manasota Key area along Shoreview Drive and Gulf Blvd. Minor flooding occurred in a few homes. Flood Insurance claims were totaled over $21,592.40.
- September, 1998 - Hurricane Georges (no landfall)
Passing hurricanes caused abnormally high surf, causing beach erosion and threatening some homes, putting water in a few on Manasota Key; flood insurance claims of $3558.50.
- September, 1997 - Excessive Rainfall
Up to 10" of rain fell in Port Charlotte causing widespread street flooding in Charlotte County; some houses sustained water damage; $15,846.79 in flood insurance claims were paid out.
- October 8, 1996 - Tropical Storm Josephine (no landfall)
Some street flooding occurred, Englewood experienced some flooding from high tide; high tide eroded beach and caused one home to fall into the water; $253,631.39 in flood insurance claims were paid out.
- March 12-13, 1993 - Winter Rain Storm
Flooding caused by high tides coupled with blowing winds; flood insurance claims of $383,008.69 were paid out.
- June 23-28, 1992 - Flooding due to 6 days of rain
23.5" of rain fell in Murdock, 18" fell in Punta Gorda, and 28" fell in Englewood; approx. $1,600,000 in damages was reported.
- November, 1988 - Tropical Storm Keith
Approximately 2" of rain fell in Charlotte County; flooding occurred in Punta Gorda and other low-lying areas due to high tides coupled with a minimal storm surge. Flood insurance claims of $224,384.60 were paid out.
- September 5-8, 1988 - Stalled front with excessive rain
Homes in Grove City suffered damages from flooding, none of which were uninsured; 11.5" of rain fell in Englewood, with 7.5" in Punta Gorda and 4.5" in Port Charlotte. Flood insurance claims of $1,066.51.
- August 31, 1985 - Hurricane Elena (not landfalling)
Storm surge caused flooding of up to 5' in some areas. Flood insurance claims of $161,356.46 were paid out.
- March, 1983 - Abnormal High Tide
Flooding occurred in the City of Punta Gorda. Flood insurance claims of $7,967.89 were paid out.
- June 17-18, 1982 - No-Name Storm
Several inches of rainfall along with a minimal, but damaging storm surge; approx. 10,965 acres of land flooded with salt water; approximately 1800 acres of land flooded with fresh water rain runoff; damage estimates approx. $1,000,000.
- June 18, 1972 - Hurricane Agnes (not landfalling)
5"-7" rainfall in Charlotte County; caused flooding of 3"-6" in parts of County; damages approx. $62,105.
Hurricanes and Tropical Storms are the greatest source of flooding in Charlotte County. Coastal areas of Charlotte Countyhave been exposed to more than 50 hurricanes / tropical storms since 1886. Since October, 1959, 17 of these weather events impacted the county population. Tropical storms in September 2001, October 1996, November 1988, June 1992, and Hurricane Elena in August 1985 were sources of multiple insurance claims for flood damage suffered in Charlotte County.