Flood Hazard Information

Family going over emergency plans and learning how to use a radio.

Are you doing all you can to protect your property from flood damage?

The City of Indian Rocks Beach is concerned about flooding and has an active program to help you protect yourself and your property from future flooding.

Flood Overview


The location of Indian Rocks Beach between the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway or “Narrows”, and Clearwater Harbor, together with the low elevations, makes the City highly vulnerable to the dangers of flooding.

Indian Rocks Beach is affected by two types of flooding: coastal flooding, primarily due to storm surge from tropical depressions, and flooding from rainfall in sufficient quantities to overcome natural and manmade drainage provisions.

Many areas flood with only a high tide and west wind. With most properties developed prior to the adoption of local storm-water management facility requirements, flooding during heavy rainfall occurs in many areas of the City. When there is a high tide and/or heavy rains the City’s drainage system will rapidly fill up from stormwater run-off and tidal waters, causing flood conditions on our lawns and in streets and swale areas.

Consequently, rainwater can back up into homes from the streets. Most often flooding occurs in conjunction with severe tropical storms and hurricanes. The more intense the hurricane and the closer to perpendicular its track is in relation to the coastline, the higher the storm surge and resulting destruction will be. Because of the high shoaling factor (shallow water and gradual slope of the Gulf bottom) off the coast of our City, we will receive higher surges than those indicated in the generalized Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale.


The entire City is designated as a Special Flood Hazard Area and lies in the “A” or “V” Flood Zones as designated by FEMA. The V-Zone is limited to coastal areas adjacent to the beach (Gulf of Mexico). The A-Zones encompass the remainder of the City of Indian Rocks Beach. The largest portion of Indian Rocks Beach is in the A-10 or A-11 areas, which are reflected in the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for our area. The A-10 and A-11 designations indicate that each year there is a 1% chance that flooding may reach 10 or 11 feet above sea level, respectively.

The average grade (top of soil) in our area averages 5-6 feet above sea level. To minimize flooding, all new construction must be built above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), the height of which is dependent upon the area’s designated flood zone. Those whose homes or businesses are built below BFE should consider flood-proofing, retrofits or other forms of mitigation.


FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) determinations let you know in which flood zone your property is located. To search by property address, please visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center here.


A floodplain is any land area susceptible to being inundated by water. In our City natural floodplain areas provide excellent habitat for diverse wildlife and enhance water quality, as vegetation and soils found within the floodplain serve as water filters, intercepting surface water runoff before reaching the bays and Gulf. A wetland is a transitional area between water and land which supports unique wetland vegetation. Because there are areas of wetlands in the City, there is native vegetation and wildlife, which must be protected. The undeveloped floodplain areas lessen the effects of storm and flood waters by providing natural storage areas for flood waters and by buffering the coastal areas from storm surges, thus protecting human life and property from flood damage.

Flood Safety


Indian Rocks Beach flood warnings will be broadcast by local television and radio as well as the National Weather Service NOAA Weather Radio. Tune into these media for instructions during times of possible flooding.

Several media sources are listed below:

  • Pinellas County Connection TV (622, Knology 18, Verizon 44)
  • National Weather Service NOAA Weather Radio
  • Government access channel 615 on cable
  • Channel 35 on the UHF band
  • The Weather Channel
  • Local radio station 100.7 WMTX-FM & Local radio station 940 WEOC-AM

You should keep a battery-operated weather alert radio, with plenty of back-up batteries available in case of a power outage. Sign up for emergency notification through cell phone text message by calling 1-888-689-8905 or for email emergency alerts by visiting the Pinellas County website.


The entire City of Indian Rocks Beach is located in a flood zone and in an Evacuation Level A Zone, which is the first level ordered to evacuate. Arrangements can be made through the Pinellas County Emergency Management Department to aid people who need help evacuating. Because the Tampa Bay Region could require as long as 26 hours to evacuate, be prepared ahead of time. Before evacuation, valuables and building contents should be secured at the highest levels possible. Have an evacuation essentials bag packed and ready ahead of time. Evacuation routes and shelter information can be viewed on the Pinellas County Emergency Management website. The website also includes information for citizens with special needs. Evacuation and shelter information is also included in the “General Information” section of the Yellow Pages telephone directory.


Being aware of what steps to take to minimize your loss prior to a flood is the first step to your safety:

  1. Tune in to local radio and television station or NOAA Weather Radio for flood warnings and evacuation information.
  2. Heed warnings from officials. Evacuate the flood hazard area in times of pending flood or when advised to do so by the Sheriff’s office, fire department or other governmental official.
  3. Have an evacuation and shelter route planned before an evacuation order is issued.
  4. Have a small bag with essentials prepared ahead of time for evacuation.
  5. Turn off utility services. Turn off electrical circuits at the fuse panel or disconnect switch. If this is not possible, disconnect all electrical appliances. Shut off the water service and gas valves in your home. Only use a flashlight to inspect damage. Do not smoke or use matches, flames, lanterns, or candles unless you know the gas has been shut off and the area has been well ventilated.
  6. Be cautious at night, being aware of the danger of downed power lines and electrical wires.
  7. Have battery-operated flashlights and weather alert radios in working condition and have extra batteries available.
  8. Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else.
  9. Do not walk into flooded areas where water depth is unknown. Do not attempt to cross flowing flood waters where the water is above your knees. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you must walk through flood waters, use a pole, or stick to test the depth of the water, always being aware of the danger of downed power lines and electrical wires.
  10. Keep children away from flood water, ditches, culverts, and storm drains. Currents can be very strong and flood waters can contain contaminants hazardous to humans.
  11. Use caution walking inside a flooded structure. During and after a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris such as broken glass or nails. Mud, silt or sand can be very slippery. Animals, such as rodents, insects and snakes may be present. Use a pole or stick to poke or overturn things to scare away small animals.

Handouts are available at City Hall with more details about flood safety and evacuation procedures. Flood-related documents are also available at the Indian Rocks Beach Library, 1507 Bay Palm Boulevard.


The following points are important to remember when driving in flood conditions:

  • Flooding can turn a familiar road into an unfamiliar and dangerous one very quickly.
  • The wake created from driving on flooded roads can push water into buildings and cause thousands of dollars of damage to the buildings.
  • Canals and other waterways may not be distinguishable from roads.
  • If your vehicle stalls in deep water, you may need to restart the engine to make it to safety. Keep in mind that restarting may cause irreparable damage to the engine.
  • Go to the Pinellas County website to learn more driving safety tips at http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/afterthestorm.htm

Flood Mitigation


Flood insurance is a wise investment. Floods are the number-one natural disaster in the United States. Wherever rain falls, or coastal storms rage, there can be flooding. Just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

Flood damage is not covered by most standard homeowner or business insurance policies. Disaster assistance, if it is available, is typically a loan that must be repaid with interest.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides federally backed flood insurance within communities such as the City of Indian Rocks Beach that enact and enforce floodplain regulations to regulate development in flood hazard areas.

There are approximately 3,000 flood insurance policies in force in the City of Indian Rocks Beach. This includes policies purchased by renters, who have purchased flood insurance policies to protect the contents of their residences.

For more information on flood insurance and to find an insurance agent, go to the website https://www.floodsmart.gov. There is typically a 30-day waiting period after a flood insurance policy is purchased before coverage takes effect.


It is the purpose of the City of Indian Rocks Beach Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance and the flood load and flood-resistant construction requirements of the Florida Building Code to establish minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety, and general welfare and to minimize public and private losses due to flooding through regulation of development in flood hazard areas.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires participating counties and municipalities to issue permits for all development in the floodplain. Development is broadly defined by the 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.

The permitting review is a requirement for continued community participation in the NFIP. All development (new constructions, repair and replacement work, additions, fences, etc) in Indian Rocks Beach requires a permit from the Pinellas County Building Department. Through this process, the City ensures development is taking place according to flood regulations. Violations can not only jeopardize a community’s standing in the NFIP, 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 City of Indian Rocks Beach Code Enforcement Department at 727.595.2517.

For further information on the requirements for floodplain development and the permitting process, please contact the Pinellas County Building Department at 727.464.3888. City staff is available to provide one-on-one consultations, site visits, and advice about property protection measures such as retrofitting techniques and drainage improvements. The City of Indian Rocks Beach Library, located at 1507 Bay Palm Boulevard, provides flood protection information, or go to the Pinellas County Build Smart website at http://www.pinellascounty.org/flooding/buildsmart.htm.


Refer to the Pinellas County website for a list of licensed contractors that can retrofit your property to help protect it from flood damage.

How to Choose a Contractor

Recourse if dissatisfied with Contractor


Mitigation of the flood risk to properties that flood repetitively will reduce the overall costs of flood insurance claims to the NFIP as well as to individual homeowners. Accordingly, Congress has created a variety of funding sources to help property owners reduce their exposure to flood damage. FEMA provides flood mitigation assistance funds to assist states, communities and individual residents to implement measures to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage. Visit FEMA’s website, for information about these grant programs. One example of a FEMA grant is the Repetitive Flood Claims (RFC) grant. RFC provides funds on an annual basis to reduce the risk of flood damage to individual properties insured under the NFIP that have had one or more claim payments for flood damages. The City of Indian Rocks Beach can provide additional information on financial assistance.


All development (new construction, repair/replacement work, additions, fences, etc.) in Indian Rocks Beach requires a permit from Pinellas County and/or the City. Through this process, the City ensures development is taking place according to flood regulations. Regulations include required elevations of floors, floodproofing of certain construction, limitations on placement of fill and prohibitions of certain substantial improvements, additions or reconstructions. If you observe any non-permitted work, or if you need additional information, please contact the City at (727) 595-2517.


A substantial improvement to a structure is any construction, addition, alteration, repair, reconstruction or other improvement of a building in which the cost of the improvement equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the building before the start of construction. Substantial improvements must meet the same construction requirements as a new building. In like manner, substantially damaged structures must be brought up to the same standards as a new building.


The City has a system of drainage outfalls and basins for stormwater management purposes. These drainage components are of vital importance since the water flowing through them drains floodwater from our streets. Our drainage system is inspected on a regular basis by our Public Works Department. Call the Public Works Department if you experience flooding due to drainage problems.

As stormwater flows over our lawns, driveways, and parking lots, it picks up fertilizers, oil, chemicals, grass clippings, litter, pet waste, and anything else in its path. The storm sewer system then transports these pollutants, now in the water, to local lakes and streams, and eventually into Tampa Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. Anything that goes into a storm drain eventually ends up in our waters. The City of Indian Rocks Beach Code of Ordinances states that no pollutants, including yard debris, automotive fluids, gravel or paint can be allowed to enter the surface waters, the drainage systems, or be disposed of in the right-of-way. Violations should be reported to the Indian Rocks Beach Public Works Department at 727-595-6889.

Elevation Certificates