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Repairing Flood Damage FAQ

1. How do I tell if my house is in the floodplain?
Visit one of the interactive map websites hosted by the City of Houston, Harris County Flood Control
or FEMA at the web addresses below and enter your address or zoom into your area.

www.gims.houstontx.gov
www.harriscountyfemt.org
www.msc.fema.gov

If you need help using City’s interactive map or don’t have internet access, you can contact the City of
Houston Floodplain Management Office (FMO) for help with using an interactive map or to request
map information via phone at 832.394.8854 or via email at fmo@houstontx.gov.

2. What is FMO?
FMO is the City of Houston’s Floodplain Management Office. FMO is part of the City’s Department of
Public Works and Engineering, Planning and Development Services Division. FMO is responsible for
administering the provisions of the City’s Floodplain Ordinance,
http://edocs.publicworks.houstontx.gov/documents/flood_plain/chapter_19_guidelines_floodplain.pdf,
including:

  • Permitting and inspecting construction activity in the floodplain
  • Enforcing floodplain regulations
  • Providing floodplain map and flood insurance information to the public
  • Coordinating with Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to maintain the
  • City’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Community
    Rating System (CRS).
  • Keeping records of construction in the floodplain
  • Assisting with disaster recovery in the floodplain and making substantial damage determinations for flood damaged properties.

3. What flood zones are in the “floodplain” or SFHA?

  • The Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is sometimes called the “floodplain” or the “100 year
    floodplain”. The City regulates all development in the SFHA.
  • On a map showing Houston’s floodplain, the SFHA maybe shown Zone A, AO or AE.
  • The 0.2% chance or 500-year floodplain or Zone X Shaded is not included in the SFHA. The City
    of Houston only regulates critical facilities (like schools, hospitals and fire stations) in this zone. If
    your home is in the 500 year floodplain, your flood damage repair will not be regulated by the
    City’s floodplain ordinance.

4. What is the difference between the floodway and the floodplain?

  • The floodway is part of the floodplain or the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
  • The floodway is the primary conveyance area for storm runoff along a bayou, river, or other
    watercourse. The floodway may not be contained in the banks of the watercourse and is shown
    on the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for our community.
  • The floodplain is the land area including and adjacent to the watercourse that stores and/or
    conveys water during the 100-year event (a rainstorm that has a 1% chance of occurring in a
    given year) that cannot be conveyed within the banks of the watercourse.

5. What is an Elevation Certificate?

  • A statement from a Registered Professional Land Surveyor (RPLS), registered in the State of
    Texas on the most current FEMA form certifying the elevation of the lowest floor of a structure,
    other critical elevations and documenting the foundation type and other features of the structure.
    Visit http://edocs.publicworks.houstontx.gov/all-documents/engineering-and-construction/floodplain-guidelines/2020-elevation-certificate.html
    to find a current Elevation Certificate form.
  • Elevation Certificates are used by FMO to document compliance with the elevation requirements
    and performance standards of the City’s floodplain ordinance.
  • FMO maintains Elevation Certificates submitted as part of the permit process in its files. You can
    request your Elevation Certificate from FMO if your house was issued a floodplain Development
    Permit for new construction, substantial improvement or an addition, under the current surveying
    standards (since June 2007).
  • If FMO does not have an Elevation Certificate for your house in its files, you can hire a surveyor
    to prepare a new Elevation Certificate for you.

6. I don’t want to experience flood damage again. What options do I have to reduce my risk of
flooding in the future?

  • Consider contacting Harris County Flood Control District at (713) 684-4040 or 4035 or
    https://www.hcfcd.org/our-programs/property-acquisition-program/voluntary-acquisition/voluntaryhome-buyout/
    regarding requirements or eligibility for the acquisition (buy-out) programs that may
    be available for some properties in our community.
  • If your property has been substantially damaged, contact your insurance agent to learn more
    about Increased Cost of Compliance coverage. You can also visit
    http://www.fema.gov/increased-cost-compliance-coverage for ICC information.
  • Learn more about federal disaster relief available to you at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/getassistance/find-assistance.
    Affected individuals and business can begin the federal disaster
    application process by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-
    FEMA (3362) or by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov.
  • The City may apply for grant opportunities on your behalf to help you reduce risk of flood. Check
    www.houstonrecovers.org for more information.

Information gathered from The City of Houston, Office of Mayor Sylvester Turner

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