It’s a good idea to determine the risk your property has of flooding. Is your house next to a creek or storm drain channel? Is it located at the low-point of a roadway or at the bottom of a hill? These are indications that flood insurance may be a good idea.
Mortgage companies usually require flood insurance for homes and businesses in the floodplain. Homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding caused by stormwater.
Keep in mind that people outside of floodplain areas file more than 20% of flood insurance claims and receive about one-third of disaster assistance, when it is available.
For more information about who must purchase flood insurance, download FEMA’s Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance Guidelines booklet.
In regard to lowering your premium, you may already be getting a 20% discount because of the steps Austin takes to guard against flooding. In addition, there may be some improvements that you can make to protect your house or business from flooding. For more information, call our hotline at 512-974-2843 or send an email.
An elevation certificate may also be helpful. Prepared by a surveyor or engineer, elevation certificates show the elevation of your home in comparison with the expected elevation of floodwaters. If the certificate shows that the lowest floor elevation in your house is above the expected inundation levels, it should lower your insurance premium. The City may already have one on file for your house or business, but we cannot guarantee the accuracy. Please use FloodPro to look up whether we have a certificate on file or you may contact us by phone or email.
Download these FEMA publications to find out more about protecting your property:
- Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards
- Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your Home from Flooding
- Engineering Principles and Practices for Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Structures
- Above the Flood: Elevating your Floodprone House
- Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage
Check the ATXfloods for road closures. NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio will alert you to flood warnings and evacuations. Also, local TV and radio stations often keep you posted during flooding conditions.
You don’t. It is not possible to tell if a flooded low water crossing is safe just by looking at it. Approximately 75% of all flood fatalities occur in vehicles. Shallow water can be deceptively swift and easily wash your vehicle off the road. Water over a roadway can conceal damage to the roadway or supporting structure. You may find that there is no longer a road under the water. When a low water crossing is flooded, don’t chance it. Turn Around - Don’t Drown!
Check ATXfloods for road closures.
Keep monitoring the situation and get ready to potentially evacuate or move to the second floor or roof. The flooding may get much worse very fast. In Austin, our creeks can rise several feet in just a few minutes. Keep in mind that the road providing access to your home may become impassible before water enters your house. Leave before the road is flooded. Do not attempt to drive or walk through a flooded road.
If there’s time, the following steps can help limit damage:
• Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary. • Move valuables, such as important papers, jewelry, and clothing to upper floors or higher elevations. • Fill bathtubs, sinks, and plastic soda bottles with clean water. Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach and rinsing. • Bring outdoor possessions, such as lawn furniture, grills, and trash cans inside, or tie them down securely.
Yes, it is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas to drive around a barricade at a flooded road. This is the same as a DWI. If caught, you may be arrested, have your car impounded, spend up to 180 days in jail and/or be fined up to $2000. You may also be charged for the cost of your rescue.
ENS stands for Emergency Notification System. These areas have been identified by the City as being more likely to require evacuation due to flash flooding than other areas. The areas have been pre-entered into our emergency notification system to expedite automated phone calls in the event of an evacuation.
If a road is flooded, turn around and find an alternate route. Don’t risk drowning by trying to cross it. Most flood fatalities occur in vehicles.
The 100-year storm is an event that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. To put that in perspective, during the span of a 30-year mortgage, there is a 26% chance that a 100-year event will occur.
The amount of rainfall necessary to produce a 100-year storm is partially dependent on the duration of the storm. If the rain falls over the course of 3 hours, it takes about 6 inches for it to be classified as a 100-year rainfall. But if those same 6 inches fall over the course of 3 days, it would be considered a much smaller rainfall event. The standard 100-year design storm for the City of Austin has a duration of 24-hours and produces a total rainfall of over 10 inches. To learn more about rainfall return periods in Austin, see section 2 of the Drainage Criteria Manual.
During a large storm, it is normal for the intensity to vary widely across the city. In September 2010, Tropical Storm Hermine produced rainfall totals equivalent to a 100-year storm over portions of the Bull Creek watershed. However, other areas of Austin did not experience as severe a storm. Keep in mind that even if a large storm has recently occurred, there is the same percent chance of an equally large storm occurring the following year.
Turn Around - Don’t Drown. Approximately 75% of flood fatalities occur in vehicles. Try to avoid driving during heavy rainfall. If you must drive, look for water over the road, avoid low water crossings, and turn around if a road is barricaded or if there is water over the roadway. Keep in mind that at night, during heavy storms, it may be difficult to see that a road is flooded.
There are many other dangers during a flood as well. In general, stay away from creeks and drainage infrastructure during rainfall.
There is more information about flood safety on our Flood Safety and Preparedness page.
The City may use a number of different methods to announce an evacuation, including: • NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio • Local Radio and TV • Door to door • An automated phone call with a recorded message to landlines or registered cell phones.
Please keep in mind that floods can happen faster than emergency personnel can respond, so you should monitor the situation yourself as well. There may not be a warning from the City.
This question is impossible to answer except in hindsight. When someone dies, there is a temptation to think the result might have been different if they had just stayed in the car or had just managed to get out of the car. Calling 9-1-1 when your vehicle first stalls has helped some people survive. The best thing is to avoid this situation, by turning around if a road is flooded. Better yet, avoid driving in heavy rainfall, since sometimes visibility is so poor, it is hard to see that a road is flooded.
In the right circumstances, almost any road can flood. The ones listed below are the ones that flood most frequently:
- W. 12th St. from Lamar to Shoal Creek Blvd.
- W. 32nd St. at Hemphill Park
- E. 38 1/2 St. between Grayson and Airport Blvd.
- Adelphi Ln. between Scribe Dr. and Waters Park Rd.
- E. Alpine Rd. between Willow Springs and Warehouse Row
- Burleson Rd. between U.S. 183 and FM 973
- Carson Creek Blvd. between Cool Shadow Dr. and Warrior Ln.
- Colton-Bluff Springs Rd. by Alum Rock Dr.
- Convict Hill Rd. between Flaming Oak Place and MoPAC
- David Moore Dr. north of Sweetwater River Dr.
- Delwau Ln. at Shelton Rd.
- W. Dittmar between Loganberry and S. Congress
- Joe Tanner Ln., near Hwy. 290
- Johnny Morris Rd. between FM 969 and Loyola Ln.
- Lakewood Dr., 6700 block
- W. Monroe St. between S. First and Roma St.
- McNeil Dr. between Camino and Burnet
- Nuckols Crossing at Teri Rd.
- Parkfield Dr. from Thornridge to Mearns Meadow
- Possum Trot between Inland Place and Quarry Rd.
- Old Bee Caves Road, near Hwy. 290
- Old San Antonio Rd. between FM 1626 and IH 35
- Old Spicewood Springs Road, between Loop 360 and Spicewood Springs Rd.
- O’Neal Ln., between MoPAC service road and Waters Park Rd.
- Posten Ln., 7900 block
- River Hills Rd., off Cuernavaca
- Rogge Ln. between Ridgemont and Delwood Dr.
- Rutland from Mearns Meadow to N. Lamar
- Spicewood Springs Road, between Loop 360 and Old Lampasas Trl.
- Springdale Rd. from Ferguson to Breeds Hill Dr.
- Wasson Rd. near S. Congress Ave.
- Waters Park Rd. between 183 and MoPAC
To find out if a road is flooded, check www.ATXfloods.com.