Floodplain and Flooding Information

Know your flood risks and understand your insurance needs

Orlando typically receives more than 53 inches of rainfall every year; a summer thunderstorm can produce anywhere between one to three inches of rainfall within just a few hours. This kind of excessive rainfall, tropical storms/hurricanes, bodies of water in the area or inadequate or overloaded drainage systems can all cause flooding to your property.

To report flooding, please call 407.246.2238 or report it online

View historic and current lake levels through the city's hyrdological monitoring site.

Prevention and Safety

Protect yourself from flood hazards

Keep safe during a flood by following these rules:

  • Don't walk through flowing water, even low velocities of water can knock you down.

  • Stay away from standing water: flood waters can contain sewage, hidden electrical wires or animals, such as alligators.

  • Don't drive through flooded areas and road barriers. You may submerge your vehicle and get stuck.

  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. 

  • Watch your step, floors and stairs become slippery.

  • Designate a place where your family can meet after an evacuation order is issued. 

  • Never remove a manhole cover. Its removal can potentially cause more water to flow out and make things worse.

  • Get more information on what to do in flood conditions by reading our Emergency Management Flood Guide.

Protect your property from flooding

Take action and flood proof your structure:

  • Keep stormwater systems, such as storm drains, clear of leaves and yard debris. Rake leaves back into your yard and don't blow your yard debris into the streets. Learn more on how to keep leaves off the streets at orlando.gov/leaf.

  • Elevate or relocate electrical panel boxes, furnaces, water heaters and washers and dryers.

  • Report flood or drainage issues by calling 407.246.2238 or filling out a Flood Report online. 

  • Report any pollution to streets, storm drains or lakes by calling 407.246.2370 or emailing stormwater@orlando.gov.

  • Install floor drains, interior/exterior back flow valves and interior flood walls around utilities.

  • Keep waterproofing materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy. 

  • Check if there is any historical documented flooding event in the vicinity of your property by submitting a Public Records Request

  • See if your property is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (floodplain). 
    • If you are in a flood prone area, it is recommended to purchase flood insurance.
  • Read FEMA's Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding (FEMA Publication 312). 

What to do if your home floods

  • In case of emergencies (serious medical issues or life threatening situations) call 911.

  • If your home starts to flood, or you have reason to believe it will flood, shut off utilities at the main switches or valves. This includes electricity and gas.

  • Move to higher ground. 

Protect natural floodplain functions

Leaves and other pollutants that are blown or raked onto the street can cause real harm to our sewage systems and our lakes. Risks include major flooding, contaminated waters and other issues, especially during a major rain event. 

  • Learn how to Keep Leaves Off the Street - leave it in the yard, mulch it or bag and bundle it. 

  • Report any pollution in our streets, storm drains or lakes by calling 407.246.2370 or emailing stormwater@orlando.gov.

  • Report dumping or debris in ditches, broken silt fences around construction sites or earthwork within a floodplain without a permit sign posted by calling Permitting Services at 407.246.2271. 


How Do I Know if My Property is in a Floodplain

Determining if your property is in a floodplain

There are a few ways you can find out if your property is in a floodplain or has a historically documented flood event.

Do I need flood insurance?

  • If you are in a flood prone area, you should have flood insurance.

  • If you are in the vicinity of a flood prone area, it is recommended to get flood insurance.

  • All renters should buy flood insurance for their contents.

Helpful tips:

  • If you do purchase flood insurance, make sure it covers both structure and contents.

  • There is a 30-day waiting period after you purchase a flood insurance policy before coverage is in effect. Don't wait until a flood is threatening.

  • Properties located in moderate-to-low risk flood zones can take advantage of a low-cost Preferred Risk Policy.

  • The City of Orlando participates in FEMA's Community Rating System (CRS), which means residents and business owners receive a discount on their flood insurance premiums.
    • We currently rank as a class 6, which can equal a 20% discount. 
  • Contact your insurance agent for information about flood insurance policies. If your agent does not provide flood insurance, contact FEMA's Office of Flood Insurance Advocate

  • Additional information on flood insurance can be found at floodsmart.gov



Property and Development Information for Homeowners and Developers

Requirements and building responsibily

  • Floodplain filling requires a permit. You must contact Permitting Services before you build on, fill, alter or re-grade your property. 

  • All development in designated flood hazard areas is required to be elevated one foot above the base flood elevation.

  • Elevation certificates are required for all buildings constructed within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). 

  • Existing buildings within the SFHA are subject to "substantial improvement" and "substantial damage" rules and may require the owner to raise the finished floor elevation to be brought up to current floodplain regulatory standards. 
    • Substantial improvements - when a project costs greater than or equal to 50% of the appraised value of a building.

    • Substantial damage - when repairs to a building are expected to cost greater than or equal 50% of the appraised value of the building.

Resources and information



Terms and Definitions

A rising and overflowing of a body of water especially onto normally dry land.

Any land area susceptible to being flooded by water.

Base Flood 
The flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. Sometimes referred to as the “1-percent annual chance flood” or “100-year flood.”

Base Flood Elevation
The height of the base flood, usually in feet, above sea level.

Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)
Land within a floodplain subject to the base flood / 1-percent annual chance flood. Includes zones A, AE and AH on FEMA FIRMs.

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
Official map of a community on which FEMA has delineated the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) and Base Flood Elevations (BFEs).

The channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without increasing the water surface elevation by more than a designated heigh (City of Orlando allows a 0.00’ increase).

500-year floodplain
The boundary of the flood that has a 0.2 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. This area is not considered a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).