Flood Zone Danger Zone


IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN, IT IS JUST A MATTER OF WHEN AND IF YOU ARE PREPARED FOR IT. FLOODS, THE SECOND MOST WIDESPREAD NATURAL DISASTER AFTER WILDFIRES. THEY ARE ALWAYS COSTLY. TONIGHT, WE HAVE INFORMATION ABOUT CHANGING FLOOD MAPS IN THE AREA AND THE HEIGHTS SOME ARE WILLING TO GO WHEN THEY FIND THEMSELVES IN THE DANGER ZONE. IN THE SUMMER OF 2017 HURRICANE IRMA RANGE DOWN ON FLORIDA. THERE WERE HOLES IN THE ROOF IN THE WATER CAME DOWN ON THE WALLS. Reporter: THE THOUGHT ABOUT FIXING THE ST. PETERSBURG HOME, THEN THE RED THE FEMA RULES. THE 50% RULE IS BRUTAL. IT DICTATES HOW MUCH YOU CAN SPEND ON YOUR HOUSE. IF A HOUSE IN THE 100 YEAR FLOOD ZONE SITS BELOW THE BASE FLOOD ELEVATION, THE HOMEOWNER CAN ONLY SPEND 50% OF THE MARKET VALUE OF THE HOUSE MINUS THE LAND VALUE ON REPAIRS AND IMPROVEMENTS, MEANING IF THE HOUSE IS VALUED AT $100,000 FEMA IS 50% RULE PREVENTS YOU FROM SPENDING MORE THAN $50,000 ON REPAIRS. THE COST TO FIX THAT WAS GOING TO BE MORE THAN THE 50%, SO THAT IS WHEN WE SAID WE HAVE TO LOOK AT WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO AND WE CAME UP WITH THIS. Reporter: THEY HIRED A JS CONSTRUCTIONS TO ELEVATE THEIR HOUSE. IF YOU WATCH CLOSELY YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE IT GOING UP. ABOUT 12 FEET. THEY GOT IT UP IN LESS THAN TWO DAYS. RANDY YOUNG DID THE DESIGN. HE SAID HOMEOWNERS WHO DO NOT WANT TO MOVE ARE LEFT WITH JUST TWO OPTIONS. YOU HAVE TO EITHER TEAR IT DOWN AND BUILD A NEW HOME, OR YOU LIFTED AND REFASHION IT. THE 50% ROLE NO LONGER APPLIES TO HOMES ONCE THEY GET ABOVE THE FLOODPLAIN. THE BOTTOM OF THAT HOUSE WAS DOWN HERE. Reporter: WE CAUGHT UP WITH THE A JS PRESIDENT IN BELLEAIR BLUFFS. YOU DID THE WHOLE SLAB? PEOPLE DON’T THINK WE CAN. BUT YOU CAN. YES, YOU CAN FOR ABOUT $65 PER SQUARE FOOT. NOT CHEAP, BUT LESS THAN NEW CONSTRUCTION. THERE IS NO GUARANTY THAT LIFTING YOUR HOUSE WILL SAVE IT FROM DISASTER, BUT HIGHER IS BETTER AND FEMA IS RAISING THE BAR. TAKE FOR EXAMPLE DAVIS ISLAND WHICH IS ABOUT SIX FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL. IN SOME AREAS FEMA REQUIRES THE LOWEST FLORIDA HOUSE TO BE 16 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL, PLUS THE BUILDING CODE REQUIRES ANOTHER CODE FOR EXTRA SAFETY. NOW YOU ARE 17 FEET UP, BUT CONSIDER THIS, HURRICANE KATRINA STORM SURGE IN 2005, THAT WAS 28 FEET. AGAIN, HIGHER IS BETTER, BUT THIS CAN STILL HAPPEN. FEMA PROVIDE SOME MONEY TO QUALIFIED HOMEOWNERS TO ELEVATE THEIR HOME IS, BUT IT TAKES TIME AND PATIENCE TO WORK THROUGH THE SYSTEM. DAVE JENNINGS IS THE FLOODPLAIN MANAGER FOR THE CITY OF TAMPA AND HE CAN ONLY RECALL FEMA DOING THIS ONCE IN HIS 38 YEAR CAREER WITH THE CITY. IT TOOK THREE YEARS FOR HER TO GET THE PERMITS IN THE GRANT MONEY TO ELEVATE IT. YOU SEE WHERE THE ELECTRICAL OUTLETS HAVE TO BE. THEY HOPE THIS SAVES THEM TIME AND MONEY LATER ON. IT HAS BEEN A LOT OF WORK BUT AT LEAST NOW THEY ARE FLOODED WITH OPTIMISM. IT WAS HARD FOR ME TO IMAGINE IT BUT SO FAR IT HAS TURNED OUT TO BE EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE HOPING FOR. THERE IS SO MUCH TO CONSIDER BEFORE ELEVATING YOUR HOME. HOW MUCH IS IT GOING TO COST? HOW HIGH SHOULD YOU GO? WHAT ARE FEMA RAISES THE BASE ELEVATION AGAIN? YOU NEED TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT, BEFORE YOU ARE LITERALLY IN OVER YOUR HEAD AFTER A DISASTER. I GUESS THE FIRST STEP IS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE IN A FLOOD ZONE WHAT THAT MEANS. WORKING PEOPLE SEE THE NEW FLOOD MAPS? WE HAVE INCLUDED A LINK ON OUR WEBSITE, WFLA.COM. YOU CAN ENTER YOUR ADDRESS AND GET A COMPARISON REPORT. IT IS EASY TO SEE AND IT WILL SHOW YOU HOW YOUR ELEVATION IS CHANGING. THOSE MAPS WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE IN JANUARY 2020 AND A LITTLE REMINDER AFTER THIS NEWSCAST I WILL BE ON WFLA NOW, ON THE WEBSITE TO SHOW YOU HOW THIS WORKS.

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