Flood Protection and Preparedness

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The most common natural disaster in the United States is flooding.  Flooding can be caused by heavy rainfall, a tropical storm, a hurricane, or other natural disaster.  A majority of City of Sunrise residents live in or near a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), which is a land area where flooding may occur as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) .  Flood damage is typically not covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy.  Because the City of Sunrise participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), residents and business owners can purchase a separate flood insurance policy to cover flood damages. As a participate in the NFIPs Community Rating System (CRS), a voluntary program, the City takes measures to reduce the entire City’s exposure to floods, to facilitate accurate insurance ratings, and to promote the awareness of flood insurance. The CRS has been developed to provide incentives for communities to go beyond the minimum floodplain management requirements to develop extra measures to provide protection from flooding. The incentives are in the form of premium discounts.  City of Sunrise property (residential & non-residential) owners currently receive a 15-percent savings on annual flood insurance premiums.

Floods Zones and Flood Maps

New Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) were issued by FEMA on August 18, 2014. The designated flood zone or special flood hazard area is determined from these maps. To determine the flood zone for a specific property, view Broward County’s Flood Map created from the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or contact the City of Sunrise Utilities Department, Public Works Division at 954-888-6011 for a map determination letter.  One can also visit the FEMA Map Service Center  for additional information or to create a firmette, a free of charge full-scale section of a FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map for a particular area. There are a number of properties within the City of Sunrise that have received a Letter of Map Change (LOMC) (i.e. Letter of Map Revision [LOMR] or Letter of Map Amendment [LOMA]).  To obtain a copy of the official LOMC that are on file at the City, contact the Building Division at 954-572-2354.


Flood Hazard

Approximately 10 percent of the land area in the City of Sunrise is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). The City is a low, flat geographical area surrounded by a system of canals and lakes.  Heavy rains from hurricanes and tropical storms bring the greatest potential for flooding in the City. Even though the City of Sunrise has not yet experienced a major flood event, the potential still exists. Various roadways throughout the City have experienced minor flooding in the past from heavy rainstorms. Minor flooding can and has impeded the use of a roadway; alternate routes should be used if a roadway is flooded. Although Sunrise has not experienced a major flood, significant local flooding can occur from several days of continuous or scattered rainfall as water levels rise from the rain events.

There are more than 20, 000 communities in the US considered by FEMA to be in Flood Zones. These communities can be part of the National Flood Insurance Program and rates are determined based on the risks of flooding for each community. To indicate the flooding risks found in different areas within the US, FEMA assigned a letter from the alphabet to each zone.

V zones are considered the riskiest of the flood zones (most hazardous areas such as beach-front properties), followed by A zones which are usually located near a body of water.

Zone C and zone X are areas considered to have minimal flood hazard. Approximately 90% of the City of Sunrise lays in zones C or X.

Use Flood Zone Definitions to understand your flood zone designation.

To determine which flood zone applies to you please see the Flood Zones and Flood Maps section found on this page.


Flood Warning System

The City of Sunrise depends on the National Weather Service  for flood warning and other weather related warnings/notifications.  If flooding or a hurricane is anticipated, the Flood Warning or Hurricane Warning will be broadcast through television, radio, and internet services.  Residents should tune to television, radio, or internet weather broadcasts and be alert to special local advisories. The following television stations, radio stations and websites will carry advisories for our area.  The most serious threat of general flooding is during the hurricane season (June 1st through November 30th).


TV AM Radio FM Radio                 Website    
WFOR Channel 4 WIOD 610 WKIS 99.9                Channel 4  
WTVJ Channel 6 WINZ  940 WBGG 105.9           Channel 6  
WSVN Channel 7 WFTL 1400 WCQM 92 (S)          Channel 7  
WPLG Channel 10 WRBD 1470                                    Channnel 10  
WSCV Channel 51 (S)  WSRF 1580                                    Channel 51 (S)*  
WLTV Channel 23 (S) WCQM 1210 (S)                                    Channel 23 (S)*  
 * (S) = Spanish      

More hurricane information is available through the Broward County Emergency Management Division, 954-831-3900, or the Broward County Hurricane Hotline at 954-831-4000 or 311.


Flood Safety and Protecting Yourself

Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 50% of flood related fatalities occur when vehicles are driven into flood waters? The next largest percentage of flood related deaths is due to people underestimating the power/force of the water and walking into or near flood waters. It only takes 12 inches of fast moving water to carry away a small car, and just 6 inches to knock over an adult. Please remember, it’s never safe to walk or drive into flood waters. When flooding occurs, remember the phrase “Turn Around Don’t Drown”.

There are several actions residents of flood hazard areas can take to decrease the potential of injury due to flooding: 

  1. Know the flood warning procedures 
  2. Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream where water is above your knees 
  3. Keep children away from floodwaters, ditches, culverts and storm drains 
  4. Do not attempt to drive in flooded areas; however, if you do and your vehicle stalls in high water, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. 
  5. Evacuate the flood hazard area in times of impending floods or when advised to do so by the Police Department or Fire Department, or when your property is located in a required evacuation zone. Listen to radio and television broadcasts to determine if your area in in an evacuation zone (see broadcast stations, below). When evacuating, seek shelter at an emergency shelter and only bring necessities. Shelter locations are broadcast on radio and television. Be sure to follow all evacuation instructions at the time to ensure safety.
  6. Turn off all electric circuits at the fuse panel or disconnect switch. If this is not possible, turn off or disconnect all electrical appliances. Shut off the water service and gas valves in your home.


Flood Insurance

If you don't already have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. However, because Sunrise participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy. This insurance is backed by the Federal government and is available to everyone, even for properties that have been flooded. Federal law requires all properties located in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) that are secured by a federally backed mortgage to carry flood insurance.  There is a 30-day waiting period from the date of flood insurance application until coverage becomes effective.  The table below indicates the available flood insurance policy coverage.  More information about flood insurance can be found at:  FloodSmart or FEMA.

There is a 26% chance of experiencing a flood during the life of a 30-year mortgage. Even if your property is a high-floor condominium, you may be affected by a flooding event. If a flood severely damages the first floor of your building, all other units may become uninhabitable as well. Flood insurance is recommended for all properties, regardless of flood zone designations.

Rates for flood insurance policies are calculated based on different factors, including structure elevation, FEMA flood zone, building construction, etc. Different types of policies can be purchased, such as contents only, building only, or contents & building. Obtaining an Elevation Certificate for your property can assist insurance agents in properly pricing your insurance policy.

The City of Sunrise participates in the FEMA CRS (Community Rating System) program by doing more than meeting the minimum standards of the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program). This additional effort undertaken by the City equates to a 15% discount on flood insurance premiums for all homes and businesses within Sunrise’s corporate boundaries.


Standard Flood Coverage Limits 

Flood Insurance Coverage (Zones B, C and X only)*

Structure Coverage Insurance Coverage Limits
1-4 Family Dwelling $250,000
Other Residential $500,000
Commercial $500,000
Structure Coverage Insurance Coverage Limits
1-4 Family Dwelling $100,000
Other Residential $100,000
Commercial $500,000
Renters $100,000

* To obtain coverage information for dwellings located in high-risk areas (A and V Zones, Residential or Commercial) please contact a licensed insurance agent.


Property Protection Measures

There are various actions which can be taken to flood proof structures, including retrofitting, to minimize damage caused by flooding or hurricanes. Other methods include:

  1. Installation of shutters over glass and windows or replacement of windows with impact resistant windows.
  2. Installation of reinforced garage doors 
  3. Removal of all loose items from terraces, patios and yards, including outdoor furniture and plants, bringing them indoors. 
  4. Securing of all vent hoods, exhaust louvers, etc. from wind and rain 
  5. Securing of doorways on the first floor from flood waters by applying sandbags, air conditioning duct tape or heavy plastic sheeting. 
  6. Electrical panel boxes, air conditioning units, water heaters, and washer/dryers should be relocated to a location less likely to be flooded. 
  7. Dry floodproofing, which includes sealing building walls with waterproofing compounds, impermeable sheeting, and using shields for covering and protecting openings from flood waters. 
  8. Wet floodproofing, which includes relocation or waterproofing of vulnerable items such as utilities and appliances. 
  9. Elevation of existing flood-prone structures above the base flood elevation. 
  10. Installation of yard drains (french drain system) in green areas that experience ponding during typical rainstorms. 
  11. Regrading of yard so yard slopes away from house.
  12. Raising home or finish floor elevation.

The Dan Pearl Public Library in Sunrise houses various useful publications that address property protection measures, these include:

In addition, many of these publications are available in digital format at the Broward County public library website .

Improvement and Floodplain Development Permit Requirements

The City of Sunrise regulates all types of construction (not just buildings) in the special flood hazard area. All construction requires either a building and/or engineering permit, which must be obtained from the City of Sunrise Community Development Department, Building Division or Engineering Division. Any substantial improvement(s) to a structure requires the structure to be brought into compliance with the current code, specifically the base flood elevation.  Per FEMA, a substantial improvement is defined as any combination of repair, reconstruction, alteration, or improvements to a structure, in which the costs of said work, equals or exceeds 50-percent of the market value of the structure prior to said work or if the structure has been damaged, prior to the damage occurring. The Building Division can also assist you with information on selecting a contractor; for further information, contact the Building Division at 954-572-2354. To report or ask for assistance on local flooding contact the Public Works Maintenance Division at 954-572-2388. To report illegal floodplain development, call the Sunrise Code Enforcement Unit at 954-572-2344.

For more information about flood regulations and building codes please follow link to FEMA’s information document  
Floodplain Management Regulations and Building Codes and Standards

Natural Flood Plain Functions

It is very important that we preserve natural floodplain functions to help reduce the potential for flood damage. In a natural floodplain, floodwater spreads over large open areas allowing maximum storage of water while improving the water quality by filtering excessive nutrients, sediments and other pollutants. In developed areas, land is arranged in a way where natural floodplain functions work in a similar manner by the implementation of systems consisting of lakes, swales, wetlands, dry detention/retention areas, canals, etc. It is important that we take care of and maintain our natural floodplain areas to provide storage for flood waters, provide a habitat for native wildlife, and to provide outdoor recreation to our community such as picnicking, and kayaking.

For more information on Natural Floodplain Functions please download:
Floodplain Natural Resources and Functions

Where the flood will or is likely to go
To estimate where a flood would likely go in, please visit this Water Elevation Map. Enter your zip code and a hypothetical water elevation. This tool can be useful to estimate flood levels to assess flood risk or plan for evacuation.

Evacuation Routes
For evacuation zones and evacuation routes please visit:
 Broward County Evacuation Zones and Routes

Real-Time Gage Information for Current Water Levels
By clicking link below, you can access current water level data for the City of Sunrise and surrounding area. This data is gathered and provided by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineers. Gage height is provided in feet using NGVD29 (Sea Level Datum of 1929).
USGS Water Gauge Sunrise    SITE 99 NR L-35A IN CONS AREA 2B NR SUNRISE, FL


Shelter Locations

Many residents are able to safely shelter at home in the event of a hurricane or other emergency. However, some residents are required to evacuate their homes. This can be especially difficult for residents who are disabled, have special medical needs, or are otherwise vulnerable during an emergency. To the extent possible, shelters provide residents with a safe place to stay and basic assistance to help them get through the emergency. Residents who must evacuate their home have several options to consider. Please visit Broward County’s Shelter Information web page to find all necessary information regarding emergency shelters, including special needs shelters and transportation assistance.


Drainage System Maintenance and Water Quality

The City of Sunrise drainage system consists of a tertiary system of catch basins and roadside swales, a secondary system of canals and lakes and a primary canal system, which is regulated by the South Florida Water Management District. These canals serve as receiving waters for the City of Sunrise.  Swales shall not be paved, regraded or altered prior to checking with the Community Development Department, Engineering Division, 954-746-3270.  It is important that these elements of the drainage system be kept open and clear of debris and litter that could impede the flow of water in a flooding situation. It is also important to properly dispose of chemicals, litter, and debris so it does not enter the drainage system. The water entering storm drains does not get treated before entering the canals and lakes within our City.

Polluted stormwater entering our drainage system is harmful to plants and animals. Common types of stormwater pollutants include chemicals (detergents, paint, automotive fluids, fertilizers), litter (cans, plastic bags and bottles, cigarette butts), and debris (leaves, lawn and garden clippings, animal excrement). Residents can also help prevent flooding and stormwater pollution by landscaping with native, drought-friendly plants that absorb water and require little or no fertilizer.  Water quality is monitored to reduce and prevent extensive contamination. The quality of surface water, specifically the large canals, is monitored by Broward County. 

Dumping of chemicals, litter, and debris in the drainage system is prohibited by State law. Violators should be reported to the Sunrise Code Enforcement Unit at 954-572-2344 or the Broward County Environmental Response Line at 954-519-1499.  To report a clogged storm drain contact the Public Works Maintenance Division at 954-572-2388.  For more information regarding water quality, contact the Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department at 954-519-1240 or the City of Sunrise Utilities Department, Public Works Division at 954-572-2388.


Sources of Information

Below is a list of resources that provide information on flooding, flood risks, flood insurance, flood preparedness, floodplain management, and other related topics.

City of Sunrise Community Development Department, Building Division: Provides copies of elevation certificates, assistance with building permit requirements, tips on selecting contractors.       

City Hall Annex 

1607 NW 136th Avenue, Building B  

Sunrise, FL 33323  

954-572-2354 or 954-572-2292


City of Sunrise Utilities Department, Public Works Division: Can advise of flood hazard information pertaining to specific parcels, and conduct field inspections for drainage concerns.             

Utilities Department - Public Works Division                

777 Sawgrass Corporate Parkway                

Sunrise, FL 33325                



Broward County Emergency Management Division: Can address questions concerning community and individual flood preparedness activities.       

 201 NW 84th Avenue 

 Plantation, FL 33324   



Broward County Public Library -Sunrise Dan Pearl Branch : Maintains flood hazard area maps, flood insurance information, and several publications and references concerning flood protection and preparedness, floodplain management and protecting buildings.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Provides federal grant funds available for property protection measures through their Flood Mitigation Assistance Program, flood insurance, mitigation, floodplain management, property protection measures, and numerous other related topics.   

 FEMA Regional Office IV 

 Atlanta, GA   



Floodsmart: Provides information about NFIP, flooding, and flood risks.

National Weather Service 

City of Sunrise Flood Plain Administrator
Ashley Resta, P.E.
City Engineer