Hurricane & Flood Information
Residents in Lake Worth must be prepared to evacuate in event of an approaching storm.
Hurricanes are severe tropical storms that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. People who live in coastal communities should plan what they will do when a hurricane approaches if they choose to evacuate or intend to “ride out” the storm.
Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.
A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.
Category 1: 74-95 MPH Sustained Winds possible storm surge of 4-5 feet
Category 2: 96-110 MPH Sustained Winds possible storm surge of 6-8 feet
Category 3: 111-130 MPH Sustained Winds possible storm surge of 9-12 feet
Category 4: 131-155 MPH Sustained Winds possible Storm surge of 13-18 feet
Category 5: More than 155 Sustained Winds possible storm surge of greater than 18 feet
Get an Emergency Supply Kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries.
- Copies of prescription medications and medical supplies,
- Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows,
- Bottled water, a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight,
- Copies of important documents: driver’s license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.
Make sure you have a “to-go bag” ready in case you need to evacuate, include:
Water and non-perishable food, battery operated radio and batteries so you can get important information from local officials, first aid kit, flashlight, maps.
Important documents such as proof residence, pictures of your family including pets, insurance policies, and tax records, comfortable clothing and blankets,
Unique family needs such as prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies or any other unique need your family may have.
Family Emergency Plan
Plan to Evacuate Identify several places you could go in an emergency, a friend's home in another town, a motel or public shelter.
If you do not have a car, plan alternate means of evacuating.
If you have a car, keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case you need to evacuate.
Take your Emergency Supply Kit.
Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.
Prepare Your Home
Prepare Your Home
- Cover all of your home's windows with hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds, as a last resort use pre-cut 5/8”ply wood.
- Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down that can become airborne missiles.
- Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Secure your home by closing shutters, and securing outdoor objects or bringing them inside.
- Turn off utilities as instructed. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
Prepare Your Business
Prepare Your Business
- Plan to stay in business, talk to your employees, and protect your investment.
- Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
- Identify operations critical to survival and recovery.
- Plan what you will do if your building or store is not accessible.
- Consider if you can run the business from a different location or from your home.
- Develop relationships with other companies to use their facilities in case a disaster makes your location unusable.
- Learn about programs, services, and resources at U.S. Small Business Administration.
- Listen to Local Officials
- Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
- After the storm passes keep roads and emergency roads clear by not driving around and looking at any damage that has occurred.
Flood Hazard Zones
If you live or have a business in the City of Lake Worth and you’d like to know what flood zone you are in call 561.586.1647 or check look up your property on the interactive map: Flood Zones
SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD: The properties lying along the Intercoastal Waterway, Lake Osborne Drive, (Lake Osborne) and along Pierce Drive (C-51 Canal) lie in the Special Flood Hazard areas of the City of Lake Worth. During a Hurricane these areas may be subject to flooding due to storm surge and significant rainfall. Your National Floodplain Insurance Program can help.
Zone A: Zone that corresponds to the 1-percent annual chance floodplains that are determined in the Flood Insurance Study by approximate methods of analysis. Because detailed hydraulic analysis are not performed for such areas, no Base Flood Elevations or depths are shown within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zones AE and A1-A30: Zones that correspond to the 1-percent annual chance floodplains that are determined in the Flood Insurance Study by detailed methods of analysis. In most instances, Base Flood Elevations derived from the detailed hydraulic analysis are shown at selected intervals within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AH: Zone that correspond to the areas of 1-percent annual chance shallow flooding with a constant water-surface elevation (usually areas of ponding) where average depths are between 1 and 3 feet. The Base Flood Elevations derived from the detailed hydraulic analysis are shown at selected intervals within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AO: Zone that correspond to the areas of 1-percent shallow flooding (usually sheet flow on sloping terrain) where average depths are between 1 and 3 feet. Average flood depths derived from the detailed hydraulic analysis are shown within this zone. In addition, alluvial fan flood hazards are shown as Zone AO on the Flood Insurance Rate Map. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AR: Zone used to depict areas protected from flood hazards by flood control structures, such as a levee, that are being restored. FEMA will consider using the Zone AR designation for a community if the flood protection system has been deemed restorable by a Federal agency in consultation with a local project sponsor; a minimum level of flood protection is still provided to the community by the system; and restoration of the flood protection system is scheduled to begin within a designated time period and in accordance with a progress plan negotiated between the community and FEMA. Mandatory purchase requirements for flood insurance will apply in Zone AR, but the rate will not exceed the rate for an unnumbered Zone A if the structure is built in compliance with Zone AR floodplain management regulations.
For floodplain management in Zone AR areas, the property owner is not required to elevate an existing structure when making improvements to the structure. However, for new construction, the structure must be elevated (or flood-proofed for non-residential structures) so that the lowest floor, including basement, is a minimum of 3 feet above the highest adjacent existing grade, if the depth of the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) does not exceed 5 feet at the proposed development site. For infill sites, rehabilitation of existing structures, or redevelopment of previously developed areas, there is a 3-foot elevation requirement regardless of the depth of the BFE at the project site. The Zone AR designation will be removed and the restored flood control system will be shown as providing protection from the 1-percent annual chance flood on the National Flood Insurance Program map upon completion of the restoration project and submittal of all the necessary data to FEMA.
Zone A99: Zone that correspond to areas within the 1-percent annual chance floodplain that will be protected by a Federal flood protection system where construction has reached specified statutory milestones. No Base Flood Elevations or depths are shown within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
The Zone D: These designations are used for areas where there are possible but undetermined flood hazards. In areas designated as Zone D, no analysis of flood hazards has been conducted. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements do not apply, but coverage is available. The flood insurance rates for properties in Zone D are commensurate with the uncertainty of the flood risk.
Zone V: Zone that corresponds to areas within the 1-percent annual chance coastal floodplains that have additional hazards associated with storm waves. Because approximate hydraulic analysis are performed for such areas, no Base Flood Elevations are shown within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone VE: Zone that corresponds to areas within the 1-percent annual chance coastal floodplain that have additional hazards associated with storm waves. Base Flood Elevations derived from the detailed hydraulic analysis are shown at selected intervals within this zone. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zones B, C, and X: Zones that correspond to areas outside the 1-percent annual chance floodplain, areas of 1-percent annual chance sheet flow flooding where average depths are less than 1 foot, areas of 1-percent annual chance stream flooding where the contributing drainage area is less than 1 square mile, or areas protected from the 1-percent annual chance flood by levees. No Base Flood Elevations or depths are shown within this zone. Insurance purchase is not required in these zones.
View Flood Zones
Flood Warning System
Flood watches (when conditions are right for flooding) and flood warnings (flooding is imminent) will be issued by local television and radio station
In the event of a major hurricane threatens Palm Beach County, many low-lying coastal areas would be inundated to varying depths by the storm surge and exceptionally high tides which accompany the storm. Tides 3-4' above normal could occur 24-36 hours before the "EYE" of the hurricane reaches the coastline. Many mainland coastal roads could be inundated well in advance of the storm's arrival, thus restricting or denying their use as evacuation routes.
Persons living or working in these areas should be prepared to evacuate as soon as hurricane warnings are announced and seek shelter in hotels or motels, an American Red Cross shelter, or in a friend's or relative's home. Evacuation should be completed early to avoid gale force winds and heavy rains that precede the storm's arrival.
View Evacuation Zones
Visit: Palm Beach County Emergency Management System S.A.M.S. (Surge Area Mapping System)
National Flood Insurance Program | NFIP
The City of Lake Worth is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which is a federal program enabling property owner(s) to purchase flood insurance.
It is based on an agreement between the City of Lake Worth and the federal government that states that the City will adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations which at least meet minimum federal requirements and in return the federal government will make flood insurance available to the citizens of the City of Lake Worth. The following are some frequently asked questions on this program. If you need assistance with any floodplain questions or require any information, please contact the Building Division at 561.586.1647
1. How do I know if I am in the floodplain?
The floodplain is identified as “Special Flood Hazard Areas” in the City's Flood Insurance Study and on the accompanying Flood Insurance Rate Maps which are published by FEMA. These maps can be view on your computer by going to the FEMA web page at www.FEMA.gov .The flood level shown for these Special Flood Hazard areas has a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any one year. That translates into a 26% chance of flooding over a typical 30-year mortgage period. The Lake Worth Public Library has these documents available for you to view in their reference section.
2. When does this affect me?
The NFIP requires participating communities to regulate by building permits any new or substantially improved structures during non-disaster periods and to monitor and identify any substantially damaged structures as a result of a disaster within the City's floodplain areas. When you apply for a building permit, we will inform you as to whether or not you are in a flood plain and what further steps are required for the issuance of a permit.
3. How high will I have to elevate or flood proof?
The elevation or flood proofing requirement is based upon the elevation of the base flood indicated in the flood insurance study of the City and on the Flood Insurance Rate maps for the City of Lake Worth.
4. Why go through all this trouble?
First as a participating community in the NFIP we are required to enforce our adopted floodplain regulations. Second, structures located in the floodplains which are not elevated or flood proofed are a threat to the health and safety of the occupants. Third, structures that do not take into consideration the flood risks will repeatedly need to be bailed out by the government when a flood event occurs.
5. What happens if I refuse to comply?
If you do not obtain a permit and do not elevate or flood proof your structure then the City can take legal action against you. If the structure is in violation of the regulations, flood insurance premiums could be extremely costly, possibly making the structure difficult to sell. Also the City could jeopardize its continued participation in the NFIP.
6. What if I have more questions?
The City's CRS Coordinator is responsible for the NFIP submittals of the floodplain management ordinance. Should you desire further information please contact us at (561) 586 – 1741.
STANDARD HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE POLICIES DO NOT COVER LOSSES DUE TO FLOODS.
The City of Lake Worth is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes it possible for Lake Worth property owners to obtain federally backed flood insurance. This insurance is available to any owner of insurable property (a building or its contents) in the City of Lake Worth. Tenants may also insure their personal property against flood loss.
The actual cost will vary depending upon the amount of coverage and the degree of flood hazard. We urge persons who live or own property in flood hazard areas to purchase flood insurance to protect themselves from losses due to flooding. This insurance is required in certain instances, such as the purchase of a home with a federally backed mortgage.
Top Ten Facts….
Every customer needs to know about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
1. Everyone lives in a flood zone. You don’t need to live near water to be in a flood zone. Floods are caused by storms, hurricanes and water backup due to inadequate or overloaded drainage systems, dam or levee failure.
2. Flood damage is not covered by homeowner’s policies. You can protect your home, business and belongings with flood insurance from the national Flood Insurance Program. You can insure your home with flood insurance for up to $250,000 for the building and $100,000 for its contents.
3. You can buy flood insurance no matter what your flood risk. It doesn’t matter whether flood risk is high or low. You can buy flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood insurance Program. And, it’s a good idea to buy even in low risk areas: between 20 and 25 percent of all flood insurance claims come from low risk areas.
4. The low-cost Preferred Risk Policy is ideal for homes and businesses in low- to moderate-risk areas. Homeowners can insure buildings and contents for as little as $119 per year. Business owners can insure building and contents for as little as $550 per year. Residential renters can insure contents for as little as $39 per year.
5. Flood insurance is affordable. The average flood insurance policy costs a little more than $500 per year for about $100,000 of coverage. In comparison, a $50,000 disaster home loan can cost you about $240 a month at 4 percent interest over 20 years.
6. Flood insurance is easy to get. You can buy NFIP flood insurance from private insurance companies and agents. You may be able to purchase flood insurance with a credit card.
7. Contents coverage is separate, so renters can insure their belongings too. Up to $100,000 contents coverage is available for homeowners and renters. Whether you rent or own your home or business, make sure to ask your insurance agent about content coverage. It’s not automatically included with building coverage (expect under Preferred Risk policy).
8. Up to a total of $1 million of flood coverage is available for non-residential buildings and contents. Up to $500,000 of coverage is available for non-residential buildings. Up to $500,000 of coverage is available for the contents of non-residential buildings.
9. There is usually a 30 day waiting period before the coverage goes into effect. Plan ahead so you’re not caught without flood insurance when a flood threatens your home or business.
10. Federal disaster assistance is not the answer. Federal disaster assistance is only available if the President declares a disaster. Flood insurance pays even if a disaster is not declared. It’s just good sense.
Residents need to be advised of the following:
- Premiums for flood insurance policy holders provide the financial recovery for insured flood losses – not tax funds. With insurance proceeds, policyholders can repair or rebuild damaged homes, clear away debris, and replace business inventories and personal belongings.
- Flood insurance claims are usually handled quickly, helping flood victims rebuild homes and businesses. Flood insurance claims are paid whether or not a federal disaster is declared.
By following some simple precautions, you can rest easier if a storm or flood condition threatens our area. Contact your insurance carriers concerning availability of flood insurance rates and coverage for your property
Property Protection Measures
There are various actions that can be taken to flood proof structures. Electrical panel boxes, A/C condensing units, water heaters, and washers/dryers should be elevated or relocated to a location less likely to be flooded. Basement floor drains and interior and exterior backwater valves can be installed and interior floodwalls can be placed around utilities. If flooding is likely and time permits move essential items and furniture to the upper floors of your home. Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing. This action will help minimize the amount of damage caused by floodwaters.
The Building Division personnel are available to review and critique construction plans to assist citizens in reduction or the elimination of flood hazards.
Sealing a building to ensure that floodwaters cannot get inside it is called dry floodproofing. All areas below the flood protection level are made watertight. Walls are coated with a waterproofing compound, or plastic sheeting is placed around the walls and covered. Openings, such as doors, windows, sewer lines and vents, are closed – temporarily, with sandbags or removable closures, or permanently.
Dry floodproofing is only appropriate for buildings on slab foundations that are free of cracks. Because most building walls and floors are not strong enough to withstand the hydrostatic pressure from more than 3 feet of water, the design flood should be less than 3 feet above the slab. The technique is not recommended for houses with floors below grade, such as basements and garden apartments, because hydrostatic pressure can collapse the walls or buckle the floor.
This technique is not as desirable as a barrier, which will keep floodwaters from reaching the building. However, where there is not enough space on the lot for a barrier separate from the building, dry floodproofing may be the only alternative.
Proper maintenance of materials used in dry floodproofing is a concern. Waterproofing compounds can deteriorate over time, especially if they are exposed to sunlight. Removable closures can be misplaced. To be dependable, a dry-floodproofed building should be inspected periodically, and its owner or occupant should conduct drills to ensure that the closures can be located and put into place in time.
There are a number of local projects that combine dry floodproofing with a barrier. The building walls are made watertight and small floodwalls are built around the windows and doorways. This provides permanent protection that does not need human intervention to close the openings.
There are several actions that residents of flood hazard areas can take to decrease the potential of injury due to flooding:
- Know the flood warning procedures.
- Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream where water is above your knees.
- Keep children away from floodwaters, ditches, culverts and storm drains.
- If your vehicle stalls in high water, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.
- Evacuate the flood hazard area in times of impending flood or when advised to do so by the police and fire department.
Electrical Safety After a Disaster
Serious injury can result for anyone dealing with the aftermath of a major storm, hurricane, tornado, or other disaster.
- Be aware of outdoor hazards. Watch out for loose or dangling power lines, and report them immediately to proper authorities. It is not unusual in a disaster such as this for more people to be killed by carelessness in the aftermath than were killed by the event itself.
- Be sure all electric and gas services are turned off before entering buildings for the first time.
- Disconnect the main switch and all circuits.
- Remove covers from all outlets and fuses or multi-breaker boxes and flush with clean water. Let dry and spray with contact cleaner/ lubricant.
- Watch for electrical shorts or live wires. Don't turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has checked the system for short circuits.
- Electric motors in appliances that have been flooded should be thoroughly cleaned and reconditioned before they are put back into service.
- Cut off all electrical circuits at the fuse panel or disconnect all electrical appliances.
Local Additional Information
Additional information may be obtained from the Palm Beach County's Office of Emergency Management (561.712.6400). That office also maintains an Emergency Management webpage.
Palm Beach County is the lead agency in hurricane responses and is responsible for ordering evacuations when required.
If you live or have a business in the City of Lake Worth and you’d like to know what flood zone you are in call 561.586.1647