Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer

Flood Information

CLICK FOR THE Harris County Flood Warning System gauge at Shoreacres Blvd. and Taylor Bayou

The City of Shoreacres is committed to providing its citizens with the knowledge and resources they can use to protect themselves and their property from flood hazards. Education, preparedness, and prevention are valuable and proven tools that help communities become resistant to natural disasters. 

Regardless of where you live, you are at risk for flooding, and the city’s location on the Gulf Coast leaves it especially vulnerable to tropical storms and other flood-related events. The information and links connected to this page have been created to serve as an “all inclusive” source for property owners in Shoreacres in order to increase awareness about flood hazards. 

The Flood Hazard

A flood is an overflow of storm water onto normally dry land caused by rising water in an existing waterway, such as a river, stream or drainage ditch. When it floods in Shoreacres, it is typically a result of heavy rain inundating storm sewer systems or storm surge from Galveston Bay.  A property’s risk of flooding may depend on where it is located relative to these two flooding sources. Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are issued by FEMA to identify different levels of flood risks. You can find out your property’s flood risk by searching your address on the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s interactive flood map. For homes that were built prior to when the city received its first FEMA flood map, it may be helpful to have access to the historical FIRMs to know what flood zone was in effect at the time of construction. Knowing this information can be critical if there is a dispute with a mortgage lender or insurance agent.  FEMA’s Map Service Center is a good resource for both current and historical maps. 

The Harris County Flood Warning System consists of 188 rain gauges placed in different areas of the county. Rain gauge 610 is located at Taylor’s Bayou at Shoreacres Blvd, and monitors rain levels at different intervals ranging from the past 15 minutes to one year.  Users can sign up for real-time alerts on the site and can also view inundation maps from the biggest flooding events in Shoreacres such as Hurricane Ike in September of 2008.

Development Requirements

While FIRMs are primarily used for flood insurance purposes and to identify flood risk, they also provide a basis for the City of Shoreacres to regulate development within FEMA’s floodplains.  The location of a property relative to FEMA’s flood zones indicates what restrictions may be placed on new and substantially improved construction.

All development in the city requires a permit per the Shoreacres Code of Ordinances.  Any development in the floodplain without a permit is illegal and should be reported to the City’s Building Department by emailing the Building Inspector at Development includes, but is not limited to, all new construction, filling, grading, and paving. Substantially damaged or improved structures, where the cost of repair (regardless of the cause of damage) or improvements to a structure equal or exceed 50% of the building’s market value, also require building permits and elevation certificates, and are held to the same standards as new construction. In most cases, substantially damaged or substantially improved structures will need to be brought into compliance with the current code and regulations which may mean elevating the structure.

Communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program must regulate to minimum standards in order to provide subsidized flood insurance to their citizens. In some cases, the City of Shoreacres has chosen to implement higher standards to provide further protection to its citizens. One higher standard Shoreacres adheres to in the Chapter 30 Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance is the requirement of all new construction and substantially improved structures to be built to at least 24 inches above the base flood elevation, regardless of location in or out of a FEMA flood zone. The elevation requirement also extends to all equipment servicing the building such as an air conditioning unit or ductwork. This higher standard provides added protection to structures but does not eliminate the flooding threat. It also benefits homeowners by giving them discounts on their flood insurance, depending on how high their structure is above the base flood elevation. For more information on development requirements in Shoreacres such as building codes, permits, and inspections, refer to the Building Department page.

Property Protection

Rather than wait for a flood to occur, you can act now to protect your property from flood damage. Even if you’ve never flooded before, in the life of a 30-year mortgage, there is a 26% chance of experiencing a flood if a property is located in the floodplain.  Various retrofitting techniques are available to help minimize flooding such as elevating the building, constructing barriers out of fill or concrete, and wet or dry floodproofing to make the building watertight. Because of Shoreacres’ susceptibility to storm surge from Galveston Bay during hurricanes and tropical storms, measures that protect against high winds such as storm shutters or reinforced garage doors should also be considered.

There are several publications on retrofitting available at the nearest Harris County public library that can help you decide which technique is best for you and your property. You can also download the Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting:  Six Ways to Protect Your Home from Flooding (FEMA P-312) from the FEMA online library for information on permanent retrofitting measures for your home. Click here for a list of financial assistance options for property protection and flood mitigation.

Flood Insurance

The City of Shoreacres participates in the National Flood Insurance Program which is backed by FEMA and is available to all properties, including those that have flooded previously. Regardless of your location in or out of a flood zone, everyone in Shoreacres is encouraged to purchase and maintain a flood insurance policy. Even if you live in an area with low or moderate flood risk, you are 5 times more likely to experience a flood than a fire in your home over the next 30 years and basic homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. Remember there is a 30-day waiting period before the policy becomes effective so don’t wait until an impending storm to purchase a policy. Some people have flood insurance because of the mandatory purchase requirement by their bank or loan company when they obtained a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually, these policies only cover the building’s structure and not the contents, but contents coverage is also available and is not only for homeowners. Renters are encouraged to purchase a contents policy as well.

Remember that a flood insurance policy must be renewed every year. Any lapse in coverage could result in claims not covered and expensive out of pocket costs to repair a damaged home. As an active participant in the Community Rating System, a voluntary program that rewards communities for adopting and enforcing higher standards in exchange for discounts on flood insurance, premiums for eligible policyholders are more affordable.

In 2022, FEMA released a new pricing methodology known as Risk Rating 2.0. Previously, policies were primarily rated based on location to the floodplain and the height of the lowest floor relative to the base flood elevation in that flood zone. The new methodology leverages industry best practices and cutting-edge technology that enable FEMA to deliver rates that are actuarily sound, equitable, easier to understand and better reflect a property’s flood risk. Click here to see the Risk Rating 2.0 Fact Sheet that answers the “where, how, and what” questions you need to know about how your structure will be rated for flood insurance. Visit Floodsmart: The Official Site of the National Flood Insurance Program for more details on flood insurance including types of policies, coverage options, and other useful information. 

Flood Safety

It is important to know the difference between a flood WATCH and a flood WARNING.  A flash flood watch is flooding that is possible in your area. A flash flood warning is flooding that is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. The best time to make sure you are ready for the next storm event is before one is headed your way. Have the following emergency supplies available in order to be prepared:

  • Non-perishable foods (at least a three-day supply) and water containers
  • More than one flashlight and extra batteries
  • Candles and matches
  • First-aid kit, along with any prescription medicine
  • Extra plywood (preferably heavy, pre-cut, and pre-drilled) to cover windows
  • Plastic sheeting (for water leaks)
  • Battery-powered radio (and/or a NOAA Weather Radio)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Copies of personal documents (birth certificates, insurance policies, pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home)
  • Extra cash
  • Camera for photos of damage
  • Pictures of your most valuable possessions (TV, furniture, jewelry, electronic equipment, appliances, etc.). These photos (and the item receipts) will come in handy to the insurance agent if the items are damaged by the flood event.

Flood Safety Tips 

It is a good idea to have an emergency plan in place, and to follow these guidelines regarding safety in the event of a flood. 

  • Learn the safest route from your home or business to higher safer ground. 
  • If emergency management officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe shelter, hotel, or relative’s house. Evacuation maps for Shoreacres residents can be found here.     
  • Make sure your family and employer know where you can be reached if you must leave your home in an evacuation.
  • Before you leave, turn off all utilities, gas, and electricity at the main switch. Stay away from power and electrical lines. Be alert for gas leaks. 
  • Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood related deaths. Flood waters can also contain contaminants and pests (i.e., snakes).
  • Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock a person off his feet. 
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than in any other location, and it only takes two feet of water to move a car. Remember Turn Around Don’t Drown!

Follow the City of Shoreacres on Next Door and access the City’s website for local information and updates before and after a major storm flooding event. For more preparedness tips, visit the Red Cross website.