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Overview

This information is intended for parcels within UNINCORPORATED Lee County only. If you live in a municipality (within a city limit), please contact your municipality to obtain flood map information (find your municipality).

Floods are the most common natural disaster, damaging public health and safety, as well as economic prosperity. Between 1980 and 2013, the Unites States suffered more than $260 billion in flood-related damages, according to FEMA. Storm surge, heavy downpours, extensive development and even sea level rise in coastal areas can increase the risk of flooding.

In 1984, unincorporated Lee County joined the National Flood Insurance Program to enable residents with mortgages to obtain flood insurance policies through the NFIP and to ensure FEMA will provide emergency assistance to Lee County residents. Through the NFIP, Lee County adopts FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps, which determine the cost of flood insurance and set standards for construction in various flood zones.

Floodplain management definition: Floodplain management is the operation of a community program of preventive and corrective measures to reduce the risk of current and future flooding, resulting in a more resilient community. This web page and its subsequent web links are intended to provide both general and detailed information about flood hazards, flood maps and other flood related topics to reduce the risk and loss caused by flooding.

See below for more details about flood related information.

Frequently Asked Questions

FEMA frequently asked questions

Acronyms/Definitions

Acronyms: For a comprehensive list of FEMA/flood related acronyms, please go to: https://www.fema.gov/pdf/plan/prepare/faatlist07_09.pdf or https://www.floodsmart.gov/glossary.


Base Flood Elevations (BFE):  The computed elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during the base flood. Base Flood Elevations are shown on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).
Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs): Are the official flood maps of a community on which FEMA has delineated both the special flood hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community. FIRM’s are the basis for floodplain management, mitigation and flood insurance activities in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Community Rating System (CRS):  A program that offers discounts on flood insurance premiums to communities that qualify through implementation of flood protection activities. The benefit to citizens is not only lower insurance premiums, but also more flood resilient communities.
 
Elevation Certificate (EC): An Elevation Certificate is an important tool that documents your building’s elevation. Elevation Certificates can be prepared by local, licensed surveyors. Structures built in a Special Flood Hazard Area – including A, AE, AO and AH zones – or a Coastal High Hazard Area – including VE zones – must have a FEMA Elevation Certificate to prove that the structure meets the required Base Flood Elevation. A FEMA Elevation Certificate is required during construction before the first permanent horizontal member is placed. A final construction Elevation Certificate is also required. The Elevation Certificate is also required for new flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program. Your insurance agent may ask you for an Elevation Certificate (EC). This certificate verifies your building’s elevation compared to the estimated height floodwaters will reach in a major flood in a high-risk flood area. It’s also beneficial to ask if your community participates in the Community Rating System (CRS), because this could mean local officials already have a copy of your EC on file. Policyholders with insured properties in communities that participate in CRS may be eligible for policy discounts. A property owner in a high-risk flood area always has the right to purchase an EC, which may reduce your flood insurance premium. Please contact a licensed insurance agent for further information.

Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Is a central command and control facility responsible for carrying out the principles of emergency preparedness and emergency management, or disaster management functions at a strategic level during an emergency, and ensuring the continuity of operation of a company, political subdivision or other organization. Visit Lee County’s Public Safety Department for more information.

Evacuation Zone: Evacuation Zone maps are used to determine extent of coastal storm surge Areas that may be inundated by an abnormal rise of water pushed onto shore by a hurricane or storm event. Surge Zone maps are used to determine evacuations. These surge zones are different from flood zones. Evacuation zones are used only in emergencies. When a storm/hurricane is approaching, it’s time to know your Evacuation zone. There are five surge zones, ranked by the risk of storm surge impact (A, B, C, D & E). Zone A being the most likely to be evacuated first.

FEMA Designated Regulatory Floodway:  Within some Special Flood Hazard Areas, FEMA has designated regulatory floodways along some rivers, creeks or other water channels. A floodway is the surrounding ground area (near the water body) where the water will overflow in the event of a flood. FEMA regulates filling and construction in floodways to allow floodwaters to be discharged without raising surface water levels beyond a specific designated height. Most construction projects in a floodway require engineering certification.

Flood Insurance Study (FIS): Is a report prepared by FEMA that summarizes an analysis of the flood hazards in a community. The analysis used to prepare a FIS is also used to prepare a FIRM (flood insurance rate map), which is a map that shows the special flood hazard areas in a community. The FIS provides information to supplement the FIRM.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): The National Flood Insurance Program, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is a federal provider of flood insurance policies. Flood insurance is required for mortgages on structures in areas designated as a Special Flood Hazard Area and Coastal High Hazard Area. Lee County joined the NFIP in September 1984 when the County adopted its first Flood Insurance Rate Maps. Those maps establish flood zones and base flood elevations to determine the cost of flood insurance premiums.

No-Rise Certification/No-Impact Certification: Any project in a floodway must be reviewed to determine if the project will increase flood heights. An engineering analysis must be conducted before a permit can be issued. The community's permit file must have a record of the results of this analysis, which can be in the form of a No-rise Certification. This No-rise Certification must be supported by technical data and signed by a registered professional engineer. The supporting technical data should be based on the standard step-backwater computer model used to develop the 100-year floodway shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (FBFM).

Program for Public Information (PPI):  Is an ongoing local effort to identify, prepare, implement, and monitor a range of public information activities that meet specific local needs. The CRS credits the implementation of public outreach projects identified in a PPI.

Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA):  (Also referred to as the “Flood Zone” or “floodplain”) The land area that could be covered by floodwaters in the event of the base flood. These areas are where the National Flood Insurance Program’s floodplain management regulations must be enforced and where the mandatory purchase of flood insurance applies for federally backed mortgages. Flood zones are labeled as AE, AH, AO and VE.

Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage (SI/SD): SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before damage condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value. (Note: The cost of the repairs must include all costs necessary to fully repair the structure to its “before damage” condition.) SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the "start of construction" of the improvement.

Unincorporated Lee County:  Any land area that is not incorporated (not located within a city limit).

The "100-year flood" misconception

“100-year Flood” misconception - People sometimes hear the phrase “100-year” flood and think a flood happens only once in one hundred years. That old adage is not true. The Special Flood Hazard Area (aka flood zone or floodplain) is an area that has a 1 percent chance, or a 1 in 100 chance, of a flood happening in any given year. That means a flood could happen this year and again the next year. It has nothing to do with calendar years.  The phrase “1 percent annual chance flood” is more accurate.

Community Rating System

Community Rating System (CRS), a program that offers discounts on flood insurance premiums to communities that qualify through implementation of flood protection activities. The benefit to citizens is not only lower insurance premiums, but also more flood resilient communities. To lower the cost of National Flood Insurance Program policies, unincorporated Lee County participates in the Community Rating System.  Because of the points earned in this program, owners of property in A, AE and V flood zones in unincorporated Lee County qualify for a 25% flood insurance discount. The discount in the X Zone, where flood insurance is optional, is 10%. The value of these discounts is $15 million annually.

Flood Map Changes

Lee County’s flood maps are constantly evolving. There are many types and levels of flood map changes.  Of the different Letters of Map Change, there are different types of changes based on the complexity of the project. Changes to flood maps can be initiated by private citizens (residents) or by FEMA.  Changes to flood maps range from:

• Small map amendments that correct the flood zone of single parcels, single family homes or commercial buildings

• Larger map revisions involving many parcels affecting Base Flood Elevations, Flood zone changes or floodway delineations/boundaries.

• Comprehensive Countywide flood map changes that also affect flood maps for other municipalities.

View a list that briefly describes the different types of LOMCs.

Flood Map Initiatives

Flood Map Changes

Permit Application Brochure

View brochure


Rainy Season/Hurricane Season Preparation

Proactive preparation helps minimize risk for personal safety and property damage during a hurricane or during rising waters due to heavy downpours and sheet flow. Here are some strategies and tips to help with preparation for storms.

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The South Florida Water Management District also offers drainage-related tips. Remember, some standing water is normal after rain. Local lakes, ponds, swales, golf courses and even streets are often designed to temporarily collect excess water after heavy rainfall to keep it away from your home.


Flood Mapping Information Contacts

Incorporated areas of Lee County are also members of the National Flood Insurance Program. For flood mapping information in those areas, click on the appropriate link below or contact them at the number listed for additional information.

Unincorporated Lee County

For flood mapping information for parcels in unincorporated Lee County, please call 239-533-8948 or email FIRMInfo@leegov.com.  The term “unincorporated” means any area that has not been incorporated into a city limit, basically anything outside of a city limit.

Incorporated Areas of Lee County

For flood mapping information for incorporated areas (areas within a city limit), click on the appropriate link below or contact them at the phone number listed.

• Bonita Springs: 239-949-6262
• Cape Coral: 239-574-0553
• Estero: 239-319-2811
• Fort Myers: 239-321-7000
• Fort Myers Beach: 239-765-0202
• Sanibel: 239-472-3700

Not sure which municipality you live in?

Find your municipality



​FLOOD WARNING AND RESPONSE ​ ​

​LEE COUNTY EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER

Information about flood warning, safety and evacuation

ALERTLEE

 

Choose your warning system

HAVE A PLAN

 

 Prepare for hurricanes


Approved Program for Public Information (PPI)

ADDENDUM - Approved Program for Public Information (April 2019)

FEMA Flood Map Initiatives

Insurance Rate Increases


 Click on individual links below for additional information on that topic:

 

Email Flood Mapping StaffEmail Flood Mapping staff for unincorporated Lee County inquiries