Coastal Flood Risk Map Update

Hillsborough County is part of a multi-year process led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update coastal flood maps. The coastal flood risks shown on today's flood maps are based on obsolete data and technology more than 30 years old. The 2007 countywide flood map update did not include an updated analysis of the coastal flood risk and does not reflect new development or changes in shoreline.

Changes to the coastal flood maps are based on FEMA’s multi-year assessment and will take effect Spring 2021. Impacted residents, especially those with homes built before June 18, 1980, are urged to buy or renew flood insurance before Sprin 2021. Having flood insurance now may not only lock in future savings later when the updated maps go into effect but also provide financial protection during hurricane season and beyond. . 

Property owners who have a federally-backed mortgage and are in a high-risk flood zone are required to have flood insurance. To learn more about flood insurance, contact your insurance agent or visit FloodSmart.gov

FEMA Public Comment Period is Closed

FEMA’s 90-Day Appeal Period, where business owners and residents could review the updated maps and provide feedback, ended on January 23, 2020. Submitted written appeals and comments were consolidated by Hillsborough County and provided to FEMA for consideration. FEMA will finish addressing any appeals and comments and then issue a Letter of Final Determination (estimated for later this summer). Once issued, the County has six months to pass an ordinance which adopts the maps before they become effective. Once they are effective, new flood insurance and building requirements will then become effective.

Revised Maps Better Reflect Flood Risks

FEMA’s map revision more accurately reflects today's flood risks, which will:

  • Provide property owners along the coast of Hillsborough County with up-to-date, reliable, Internet-accessible information about their risk of storm surge-driven coastal flooding
  • Help residents and business owners make more informed decisions about protecting their property and financial stability
  • Allow community planners, local officials, engineers, builders, and others to make important determinations about where and how new structures and developments should be built

Preliminary Map Revisions for Coastal Areas

FEMA Flood Map Changes Viewer

Viewer instructions

What to Expect

  • Expect changes to loan requirements and flood insurance costs in areas where updates occur. Some residents and business owners will find that their flood risk has increased, while others it may actually have been reduced. The NFIP has insurance cost-saving rating options to help reduce financial impacts. Property owners should contact their insurance agent to determine what the best option and coverage is for them.
  • Revised flood maps will guide Hillsborough County's planning decisions and development requirements resulting in a more resilient county.
  • New FIRMs become effective in 2021, though the County will keep the public and stakeholders informed throughout process.

Additional Resources

Contacts

  • Unincorporated Hillsborough County property owners: call (813) 635-5400
  • City of Tampa property owners: call Construction Services at (813) 274-3100, between 8 AM to 4:30 PM, or visit the City's information page
  • Insurance impacts: contact your insurance agent or visit www.FloodSmart.gov

Update Timeline

All coastal counties in the Tampa Bay Area are undergoing coastal flood risk map updates. The timeline for Hillsborough County's update process is outlined below. Dates are subject to change.

  • Discovery, Data Collection, and Stakeholder Coordination - 2013
  • Modeling - 2013 to 2017
  • Work Map Production - 2018
  • Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and Flood Insurance Studies (FIS) Report – November 2018
  • FEMA Public Comment Period - October 2019 – January 2020
  • FEMA issues Letter of Final Determination (LFD) – Late Summer 2020 (expected)
    • Hillsborough County will conduct outreach to property owners who may benefit from time-sensitive National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance rating options
    • Official adoption of required code changes by Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners within 6 months of LFD issuance
  • Effective FIRM and FIS Report – Spring 2021 (expected)
    • Changes in building and flood insurance requirements due to flood zone and/or Base Flood Elevation changes become effective
Public outreach and stakeholder engagement continue to inform citizens about the changes and insurance rating options available

More about FIRMs

A Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is an official map on which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identifies areas of high, moderate and low flood risk. Since the late 2000s, FEMA has been updating Flood Insurance Studies and Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the entire populated coastline of the country to provide improved flood risk information to coastal communities along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes.
 
Important Note: Flooding occurs not only in high-risk areas, known as Special Flood Hazard Areas, but also in areas with a low to moderate risk on a FIRM. Anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. People outside of high-risk areas in Florida file over 20 percent of National Flood Insurance Program claims and receive one third of FEMA's disaster assistance for flooding. Lower-cost flood insurance is available in these areas with premiums starting at less than $300 a year.