Flood Maps & Zones
Anywhere it rains, it can flood. Everyone in Pinellas County is in a flood zone. Flood zones can be low, moderate or high risk.
Flood zones, evacuation zones and storm surge are different. They measure different conditions that may not occur at the same time, are determined by different methods and have different purposes. A home may be located in a non-evacuation zone, yet be located in a high-risk flood zone because of a nearby stream or pond. You should check them all to understand what your flood risk is.
FEMA flood zone maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), show areas of high and moderate to low flood risk. High-risk areas have a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year. The FIRM is used to determine building and flood insurance requirements.
County floodplain maps, developed from detailed watershed and coastal studies, also show areas that have a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year. As with the high-risk flood zones on FEMA FIRM maps, these floodplain areas are also considered high-risk areas and are subject to specific development regulations.
NOTE: Federal requirements for flood insurance are only based on the FEMA FIRM, not the Pinellas County flood maps.
Find out what the flood hazard and required development standards are BEFORE you develop your plans.
Storm surge maps display where flooding will occur when an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm is pushed toward the shore by strong winds. These maps are used for hurricane preparedness and planning.
Evacuation may be necessary due to the risk of storm surge from tropical storms or hurricanes. Evacuation zone maps are based on ground elevation and the area’s vulnerability to storm surge. Know your zone and follow evacuation orders.
- Base flood elevation (BFE) means the elevation of a flood having a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year, which is commonly referred to as the “100-year flood” or the “one-percent-annual chance flood.”
- Flood hazard means base flood elevation, design flood elevation, flood hazard area or flood zone.
- Flood zones are areas mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for use in the National Flood Insurance Program. Each flood zone designation, represented by a letter or letters, tells homeowners what the risk is for flooding at their property over a period of years, regardless of the cause.
- High-risk areas are defined as having a 1% chance of being flooded in any given year, which is also referred to as the 100-year flood or base flood. High-risk areas, referred to as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) are shown on the map as zones labeled with the letters A or V. By law, all homes in high-risk zones carrying a federally-backed mortgage must be covered by flood insurance. Wave action is expected in V and Coastal A zones, so specific building criteria are required. Coastal A Zones are the areas landward of a V Zone. During base flood conditions, the potential for 1.5- to 3-foot breaking waves exists.
- Moderate flood hazard areas, labeled Zone X (shaded) are also shown on the FIRM, and are the areas between the limits of the base flood and the 0.2-percent-annual-chance (or 500-year) flood.
- Minimal flood hazard areas, which are the areas outside the SFHA and higher than the elevation of the 0.2-percent-annual-chance flood, are labeled Zone X (unshaded). Visit FEMA for additional flood zone information.
- NOTE: The Base Flood Elevation (BFE) on the maps is only accurate to +/- a half-foot. For an accurate BFE, refer to the Flood Profiles or Flood Elevation Tables in the Flood Insurance Study.
What’s my flood risk?
Everyone is at risk for flooding. You may be in a flood zone, a storm surge area, or an evacuation zone. Use our interactive maps to see the difference.
- Pinellas County Flood Hazard Areas (FHAs) are areas that have a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year. Like with the FEMA SFHA, these floodplains are also considered high-risk areas and subject to specific regulation. Visit the Pinellas County Flood Map Service to find your flood risk.
- Evacuation zones are based on hurricane storm surge zones, determined by the National Hurricane Center using ground elevation and the area’s vulnerability to storm surge from a hurricane. The evacuation zones are marked from A through E, plus non-evacuation zones. Visit the Know your Zone Evacuation Level Lookup to find your zone.
A few inches of water is all it takes to cause major damage to your home and its contents.
- Storm Surge flooding occurs when an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm is pushed toward the shore by strong winds. If you are susceptible to storm surge, flood insurance is recommended, even if you are not located in a FEMA flood zone.
- Current Water Levels in a nearby waterbody can help you predict when flooding might occur during a rain or tropical event.
Most homeowners and renters insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. Flood insurance, however, is available in the form of a separate policy both from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from a few private insurers. Rates are calculated based on a variety of factors, including elevation and building construction. Policies can be purchased for contents only, building only, or both contents and building. Talk to a licensed insurance agent to determine the premium for your specific property.
Contact our Flood Information Services hotline at (727) 464-7700 for information about your flood hazard, flood-prone areas and other areas that need special protection because of their natural functions.