Thursday, August 28, 2008

How To Know If Your Florida Property Will Flood During A Hurricane

If you can see any of the plants or scenery in the picture above, your property will probably have flooding issues during a hurricane or tropical storm.

The more you can find on your property, the more you should think about ...

A) Not buying it ... or buying it and donating it to the local water management district as a wetland preserve.

B) Not whining when you decide to build there and your home floods like Noah's worst nightmare.

C) Moving to Idaho

If you can see any of these animals from your back porch or in a leisurely walk around the neighborhood ... you're property will probably not just flood, but have real artificial reef potential or lake bottom view potential, should a category 4 or 5 come directly ashore.

So, the helpful information above is a little tongue in cheek, but not completely ...

During Fay, which remember was only a minor Tropical Storm, the news reporters showed us flooded neighborhoods, one after another. It was a parade of homeowners standing kneedeep in water and saying, "We've never been flooded like this before."

One of the things that struck me about a lot of those news story scenes is the background scenery in which the flooded subdivision existed. It was all pretty predictable based on the surrounding area.

A flooded neighborhood set in pine flatwoods ... oops, not only are they flat but they are prone to ponding due to a layer of hardpan a few feet down that prevents rapid absorption of rainfall. Plus, in a drought they are tinderboxes ready to burn so it's kind of a double whammy to live there. (Sorry all you folks in Palm Coast, I suppose ITT didn't explain all this when they were carving up Flagler County)

A flooded neighborhood adjacent to a creek, a canal, a swamp, a river ... double oops. That one doesn't even need explaining.

Waterfront property of any kind ... don't even get me started. I understand the appeal, but the risk level is as high as it gets.

Live where you want (Idaho, Idaho, Idaho), but don't whine if you put your home and yourself in harm's way and harm comes to visit.

Oh, and don't ask for my tax dollars to bail out your risky decision.


tai haku said...

views of manatees are indeed an ideal indicator of massive flooding risk LOL!

billg8tr said...

I like the Idaho thing. My wife's father lived in Idaho but he is go beyond now. If we could get all of the "smart", "rich" people living along A1A to move to Idaho the rest of us in Florida could probably afford insurance.

Doug Taron said...

I find your photo list of wetland animals to be a bit vertebrate centric.

Do developers in Florida start by scraping up all the (water-retentive) topsoil before planting down a bunch of houses, or is the soil there too sandy for that practice?

Anonymous said...

Idaho is probably safer from some types of flooding, but don't live downstream from a big dam.

robin andrea said...

That's just about how I respond to people who look surprised when the river in their yards overflows its banks and makes a wet visit into their living rooms. There are clues, folks, so take a good look around before you buy.

Good rant, fc.

Anonymous said...

FC Thunder,Lightin and STEB turned me on to your blog and I think it is great.So your latest one are you tring to tell Thunder and Lightin to move to Idaho and not Florida. smokin

threecollie said...

First of all, your photos are wonderful as always. I love the collage feature which lets us see lots and lots of them.
And would you believe we see the same exact stupid stuff up here in arctic NY? The river is lined with what are known as river flats. Wonderful, fertile, rich, flat fields that will grow anything you want to plant. Except people. They won't grow houses because every ten or fifteen years or so they flood. That is how they got to be so fertile. Doesn't stop folks from building on them though. I think they missed that class in fifth grade science.

roger said...

national flood insurance is supported by our tax dollars and required by mortgage holders on property in flood zones. at least in california.

but no national health insurance. that would be socialism. or something awful.

atitude? moi?

Anonymous said...

I love your "test". Can't get much simpler than pointing out visual cues. Great job!

h said...

It wouldn't be a bad idea to put together a little booklet for aspiring home-buyers not attuned to the natural world.

And Amen on the final thought...BUT

Floridians are NOT EVEN CLOSE to the worst offenders when it comes to demanding taxpayers bail out their stupid decisions.

How about azzhats on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers who's homes flood with much greater frequency?

Some of them have been bailed out 3 times.

How about hollyweird azzhats who build zillion dollar homes on fire and landslide prone hilltops?

How about lazy welfare-freak azzhats who insist on living in a city that's BELOW SEA-LEVEL and sinking further? New Orleans has flooding problems when they get 2 inches of rain from a gentle spring shower. What the heck do they think will happen with a Hurricane?


Anonymous said...

Don't leave out the "Idiots" that ignore the weather reports and don't prepare for the forwarned approaching storms. Then whine about it after the fact.

But, I have to add. That up here was a strange season. Some places flooded out that were miles from the nearest river or creek. So you never know!

Bro J

Sharon said...

None of the above :) We do live near piney woods and are plagued by standing water, but strangely enough had NO problems from Fay! I've seen more standing water after an afternoon thundershower. Love the mosaics though, I can just see them in your book one day :)

Anonymous said...

Building homes on "stilts" in these flood-prone areas might work. A raised home with parking underneath, surrounded by tasteful, natural landscaping sounds interesting to me.

Whatcha think?

VitaminSea said...

THese nature clues that you've photographed here are excellent guides!

When Rick and I were young and naive, (as opposed to now where we're old and...uh, full of "wisdom") we bought 5 acres in Hawthorne on a lake, where we planned to build a house.

During the title search, we learned that our property was on a flood plain.
We honestly didn't have a clue at the time as to what that REALLY meant.
We bought the r.e. agents advice that it was ok because most of the property was "high and dry". Boy, did we get lucky. Had Fay landed there, our property, if we still lived there, would have been under water, and all those snakes in the palmettos would have floated in the house to roost!

Developers in Florida like to build the required "retention ponds" and then rename their subdivsions to Oak "Lake" Park, or Palmetto "lakes" or some other bs.

Always watch out for man made lakes!

I have a friend down in lake worth whose neighborhood was underwater when Fay crossed the state, after those "lakes" flooded. It used to be such a pretty neighborhood.....

Just the Right Size said...

Utah...but I'm taller! :-)

Anonymous said...

Some silly people expect not to be able to buy a house if it is subject to natural disaster. Others think we should have health insurance. Silly people and their expectations!

Those comments are not intended to be criticisms, though. I like this place and I listen carefully when I meet the rare individual that grew up here.

At least I think we live in the same relative location. I have heard the term 'nature coast' applied here though nature is hard to find.

I hope this day finds you well.

Sandcastle Momma said...

I don't know, FC. I'm a 5th generation Florida native and I don't think I'd do well in Idaho.
And as a native, I reserve the right to whine a little LOL

My parents have always lived on the Bay and have lost their house in 3 different storms. My dad says it's worth it to him and he just keeps rebuilding. We're not on the water but we are on a barrier island and I know the risk. I don't like it but I accept it. I also won't stay during a Cat 3 or bigger. I shove the kids in the car and invade South Alabama.

I know you need more water in that pond but I'm seriously hoping that we don't get Gustav.

R.Powers said...

Cute as they are, if your house has a view of them, you may have a problem.

And we could have our beaches back.

I was picking animals people would be most likely to see, but yes, I'm sure I have spinal bias!

Definitely a risky thing ... living downstream.

Ditto. Every river is wider than it's apparent banks.

No, Dave earned his FL wings by rooming with me in college. They are grandfathered in.

I can imagine their surprised looks when the floods come.
"It was dry when we bought it."

nice juxtaposition of the two ... food for thought.
Especially since flood insurance benefits the rich who can afford waterfront property.

It was partly in fun, but I am kind of a fan of personal responsibility.
Glad you liked it!

Don't hold back now, tell us how you really feel.
The below sea level folks may be snorkeling again this week with Gustav approaching.

Bro J,
Like the wind surfin wall banger in Trop STorm Fay?

Glad you escaped Fay Flooding. I wonder how the homes on SR13 out by the river did?

If it's setback far enough, well then, it has some merit, but stilt homes near waterways have septic tanks beneath that leak le poo when the floods come.
As for storm resistance, Hurricane Ivan cleaned the beach of stilt and nonstilt alike on the panhandle.
Definitely better than ground level foundation when near water though.

Good points. I bought swamp when I was 21 and hot to own land.
So I am not immune to poor choices when it comes to land either.
Much wiser now.
I get a kick out of those ridiculous subdivision names. Still waiting for an honestly named one like, " Soon To Flood Savannahs" or "Storm Surge Estates".

Just Right,
LOL! Hey happy anniversary, hope it went great!!

Welcome to Pure Florida!
Feel free to be critical here, it's welcome. We can disagree agreeably at PF.
Now about that hard to find thing ... nature is thick as fleas up here and often slithers up onto MY porch. Just where in the nature coast are you? If its the south end, then yes, they have ruined a bit of it.
Thanks for commenting :)

R.Powers said...

I hear ya. The barrier island allure is strong.
I don't want you to get Gus either. This one is going to be very bad.

Aunty Belle said...

Well, this heah is a fine public service post. Mighty fine guide.

Does ya pine fer Idaho? Cain't see why--been thar' some and it is cold, brother, C O L D. Rugged folks, tho.

Uncle done said all that ya said, FC. How folks ignore what Floridy shows 'em plainly. He say "rent whatever ya want at the beach (Atlantic side), but I ain't buyin' what nature doan think belongs on her coast. She'll rip it out right regular-like."

Anonymous said...

What? Water runs downhill?

No one told me.

Sharon said...

FC, my ex-FIL lives on F.C. Road off of 13, he's right on the water and didn't do too bad. Lot's of trash to pick up and the water level got much higher than normal, but he's got a pretty good bank so he did alright. Seems like folks out on the West side got the worst of it.

jojo said...

Where in Florida isn't there a risk? if its not the flooding its the hurricanes. And i blame it all on the developers. My neighbors been here 20 years. Never flooded till new home developments re-route the natural flow of things. :(

rant! rant! rant!

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%! But no one listens to me, LOL
Better yet, since we just bought this house a year ago (our neighbors are all flooded, but we're not even close) you get this official piece of paper during the process that tells you if your new house will be in a flooding zone. Your insurance will go up accordingly too. It's not a secret and it's not a surprise so I wish these dim bulbs would quit acting like the thought never occurred to them.

R.Powers said...

No, I don't pine for IDAHO, I'm just trying to steer people there rather than here!!!

A fascinating new fact that some have not learned even now.

Thanks for the update!

We definitely have a knack for making things worse.

Good point! None of this is a secret!

h said...

I may do follow-up research on "Wind-Surfer Wall-Banger" dude. I suspect I'll find out taxpayers paid his medical bills. Freaking idiot.

Stacey063 said...

Right on! Please communicate that to St. Johns County with the idiots who thought they could live on Porpoise point! Not only did it take away a great beach when they let people build there, but it is a hurricane deposited island! I don't get them whining to the county when their houses are about to fall into the sea. I have zero sympathy for people who only see wetlands/oceanfront as buildable unused land. Let the buyer beware. End of rant.

Alan said...

Personal responsibility for our actions? How dare you expect such a thing!? :) No homeowner-on-bad-land left behind!

R.Powers said...

He'll probably get his own reality show after he heals.

Damn! You go girl!
If you are in Alabama, how do you know so much about the loss of PP?

I'm crazy that way.

Islagringo said...

As you know, I live on an island in the Caribbean. My house is 50 yards from the water and at 27' elevation. Yet, through 5 hurricanes that came to my door, we have never flooded. It all depends on the storm surge and amount of water carried by the storm. Or that there is a large hill behind that drains all the water directly back into the sea.