Port St. Lucie is a beautiful place to live. Its many canals, lakes, and wetlands provide a wide range of benefits. Water quality is improved through wetlands and canal vegetative buffers that filter nutrients and impurities from runoff. Local waterways provide habitats for fish and wildlife. Floodplains that surround local water bodies also provide storage and conveyance of runoff from heavy rainfall that help reduce the impacts of flooding.
Lakes, canals and wetlands not only provide valuable natural function, they also provide beautiful settings for nature parks and hiking trails as well as private homes. Since 1981, new homes and business located in floodplains have been reviewed for compliance with the city’s flood ordinance. In order for a community to offer flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) the community is required to enforce certain minimum regulations on development in the floodplain. This management of the floodplain is done to ensure that flooding problems do not increase and to work towards the reduction in the risk of flooding. This work is performed by the City of Port St. Lucie Public Works and Building Departments.
Flood hazards in Port St. Lucie
Flooding is caused by heavy rainfall that occurs in short periods of time, which is common during summer thunderstorms. However, the greatest flood threats come from the excessive amounts of rainfall that accompany coastal storms, tropical storms and hurricanes.
Just in the past decade, damaging floods have impacted Port St. Lucie:
- Sept. 14–17, 2001 (Tropical Storm Gabrielle)
- Aug. 3–Sept. 14, 2004 (Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne)
- Oct. 24, 2005 (Hurricane Wilma)
- Aug. 20, 2008 (Tropical Storm Fay)
- Aug. 27, 2012 (Tropical Storm Isaac)
For City of Port St. Lucie Floodplain assistance, please call (772) 871-5177.
National Flood Insurance Program
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by FEMA, was developed to provide information about the risks of flooding and to allow citizens to purchase flood insurance to protect them from the financial risks of flooding. For a homeowner, flood insurance covers structure and content losses that occur from flooding. For a renter, it covers contents. Remember that flood insurance is not included in your standard homeowner's or renter's policy. You must purchase it separately. Flood insurance is sold through private insurance companies and is financially backed by the federal government. You can learn more about flood insurance at Floodsmart.gov, or by contacting your insurance agent.
Who can purchase flood insurance?
Everyone living in the City of Port St. Lucie, including homeowners, business owners, and renters can purchase flood insurance. This is because the city participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. You do not have to live in a mapped floodplain in order to purchase flood insurance.
Flooding can occur in other areas
Just because your home is not within the mapped floodplains shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) does not mean that you are free from the potential risk of flooding. These maps only show areas with a higher risk of flooding from overflowing canals and streams. Actual rainfall amounts may exceed those assumed in the computation of the mapped floodplains. Intense rainfalls can overwhelm local drainage systems causing water to pond deeply in the streets or flow overland to the nearest canal, flooding homes along the way. Smaller channels and ponds may not have been studied. The canal near your home may have a floodplain that is not shown on the FIRMs. The FIRMs are estimates using engineering technology, but nature can be unpredictable. Nationwide, one-third of the flood loss claims are from property located outside of the mapped 1 percent (100-year) floodplain.
I have homeowners' insurance, so why do I need flood insurance?
Flooding is not covered by standard homeowner insurance policies. Although your insurance agent might sell you your homeowner insurance policy and flood insurance, the flood insurance policy is separate and is issued through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Community Rating System
Port St. Lucie participates in the NFIP Community Rating System, a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. Flood insurance premiums are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from community actions. Port St. Lucie has a class rating of 8, meaning that property owners within the city limits are entitled to a flood insurance discount of approximately 10 percent in Special Flood Hazard Area Zones A and AE, and a 5 percent discount in Non-Special Flood Hazard Area Zone X.
Property owners may now be required by their lender to purchase flood insurance for the first time or see their rate classification change because of the new FIRM. To help with these costs, the NFIP has Grandfather Rules that recognize policy holders who have maintained continuous flood insurance coverage and those who have built in compliance with the FIRM.
Please contact your local insurance agent for more information about flood insurance and the FEMA Grandfather Rules.