Clay County's Floodplain Manager, Nancy Parker, may be contacted at (904) 529/541-3825.
Flood Information Available:
1. Most elevation certificates for structures built in a floodplain since 1997
2. Available historical flood data
3. Floodway designations
4. Repetitive loss areas
5. Wetland information
The Local Flood Hazard
The primary cause of flooding in Clay County is heavy rainfall from tropical systems and afternoon thunderstorms. Many areas of the County are low-lying and subject to flooding from rising water. The majority of these areas lie along the St. Johns River, the North and South Forks of Black Creek, Little Black Creek, Governors Creek, Peters Creek, Doctors Inlet, and other creeks in the County, as well as along the shores of Kingsley Lake, Lake Asbury, Lake Brooklyn, and Lake Geneva. Some areas of the County along the St. Johns River, Doctors Lake, and the Black Creek system are also subject to storm surge from hurricanes. Areas shown on the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Clay County as flood zones “A” or “AE” will be inundated by the 1% annual chance storm. These areas are also called “Special Flood Hazard Areas” or “high flood risk areas.” If you live in unincorporated Clay County, you may contact the Clay County Planning and Zoning Division to determine whether your property is in a SFHA. Zoning staff may be reached by telephone (904) 278-4705), mail (PO Box 1366, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043), or in person (3rd floor of the Clay County Administration Building, 477 Houston Street, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043).
Other areas of the county are subject to flooding from stormwater runoff in areas with local drainage problems. These areas may not be shown in the SFHA on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
Flood Insurance and Property Protection
Every year, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other type of natural disaster. While recent construction practices and regulations have made new homes less prone to flooding, many existing structures are still vulnerable and flooding can occur outside the high-risk areas. The best way to prevent loss is to know your flood risk and protect your property to minimize the possibility of floodwaters damaging the structure. Common protection measures include elevating the building and utilities above flood levels, relocating structures to higher ground, making wall openings near the ground in non-habitable areas to allow the entry and passage floodwaters, and constructing flood barriers such as berms or floodwalls. It is important to avoid endangering a neighbor’s property due to your flood protection measures.
It is also important to keep potential wind damage to structures in mind. Keep in mind that hurricane shutters and reinforced garage doors can significantly reduce wind damage.
The second most important protection measure against flood damage is to purchase flood insurance to prevent financial loss if your property floods. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover losses due to flooding. For many people, their home and its contents represent their greatest investment. There is a 26% chance that property in the SFHA will experience a flood during the life of a 30 year mortgage. Clay County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, which makes federally-backed flood insurance available to all residents and property owners. This flood insurance is required for properties in the SFHA purchased with federally-backed mortgage programs or other federal financial assistance. There is usually a 30 day waiting period before a flood insurance policy takes effect. Residential buildings may be covered for up to $250,000 for the building and $100,000 for the contents. Non-residential structures may be insured for up to $500,000 on the building and $500,000 on the contents. Contents-only coverage is available for renters.
The Flood Warning System
Clay County Emergency Management works with the cities, the State of Florida, the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center to monitor storm, flood and other hazardous weather threats and advise the community accordingly. When a storm, flood or other hazardous weather event threatens to impact the county, watches, warnings, evacuation notices, and updates are announced on local TV, radio stations, and via announcements on NOAA weather radio.
Clay County Emergency Management may also use the following methods to inform residents of emergency conditions and necessary action:
• Automated telephone system
• Mobile loudspeaker systems
• Door-to-door visits
Stations to Monitor for Watches and Warnings
WPLA 107.3 FM WJCT 89.9 FM WHJX 105.7 FM
WJBT 93.3 FM WOKV 690 AM WFKS 97.9 FM
WUFT 89.1 FM WXJZ 100.9 FM WEAG 106.3 FM
WAPE 95.1 FM WEJZ 96.1 FM 99.1 WQUIK
NOAA weather radio 162.475 MHz NOAA weather radio 162.550 MHz
Jacksonville WJCT-PBS 7
Jacksonville WTLV-NBC 12
Jacksonville WJXX-ABC 25
Jacksonville WAWS-FOX 30
Jacksonville WTEV-CBS 47
Jacksonville WUFT-PBS 5
Gainesville WCJB-ABC 20
Flood Safety Measures: Before a Flood
• Purchase flood insurance.
• Prepare a family emergency plan and survival kit for your family and pets.
• Protect property to prevent damage(don’t forget to reinforce garage doors, reinforce roof connections, purchase storm shutters).
• Clear yard and gutters of debris.
• Remove dead branches from trees.
• Register for special needs or pet shelter space, if needed.
• Sign up for emergency alerts to be sent to your phone: ALERT Clay County
Flood Safety Measures: When a Flood Threatens
• Place sandbags to protect property.
• Elevate furniture above flood protection levels.
• Seal off sewer lines to prevent backflow.
• Install shutters.
• Protect important documents in waterproof containers.
• If your disaster plan includes evacuation, prepare to leave with your pets.
• Secure your home.
Flood Safety Measures: During a Flood
• Evacuate if told to do so, take your pets with you.
• Once you have reached your area of refuge, be it your home or a shelter, stay inside!
• Turn off all utilities at the main connection.
• Do not walk through flowing water.
• Do not drive through a flooded area.
• Stay away from power lines.
• Have electricity turned off by the power company.
• Look out for stranded animals.
• Be alert for unstable stream banks.
• Be alert for gas leaks.
Flood Safety Measures: After a Flood
• Return home only when authorities advise it is safe.
• Do not drive unless you must.
• Treat all non-operating traffic lights as 4-way stops.
• Do not strike matches to prevent fires from gas leaks.
• Stay away from downed power lines.
• Stay out of heavily damaged areas.
• Listen for drinking water safety news reports.
• Decontaminate and test private wells.
• Check food and water for contamination.
• Service damaged septic systems.
• Clean and disinfect everything that got wet.
• Wear boots and thick gloves when cleaning up to avoid contamination or injury.
• Beware of displaced wildlife.
More information on flood safety is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FloodSmart.gov, American Red Cross, Florida Division of Emergency Management, and Clay County Emergency Management Division.
Natural and Beneficial Functions of the Floodplain
Floodplains in their natural state provide several beneficial functions. They are highly productive areas providing habitat for diverse plant and animal communities such as Clay County’s freshwater swamps and marshes which often support wading birds and bald eagles. Local floodplains provide open space with aesthetic and educational value for public enjoyment. They can spread flood waters over a large area, thus reducing the velocity of the water and reducing structural damage and soil erosion. They act as a buffer between the flood waters and developed areas to reduce potential damage to buildings. They can improve water quality and help prevent algae blooms by filtering impurities and nutrients from stormwater runoff.
Floodplain Development Permit Requirements
Any development in the floodplain, including filling, grading, or paving as well as building construction, requires a building permit according to Clay County’s Flood Hazard Prevention Code. Residential structures along with machinery and equipment serving the building, including ductwork, must be elevated to 1 foot above the base flood elevation. Clay County maintains elevation certificates for all buildings constructed in the floodplain since 1997. Copies are available in the Planning and Zoning Division by calling (904) 529-4705. Report potential illegal floodplain development to Clay County Code Enforcement at (904) 284/269-6310.
Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage Requirements
If the cost of improvements or cost to repair damage to an existing structure exceeds 50% of the market value, the building must be brought up to current floodplain management standards. For residential structures, these requirements typically mean raising the living area and all machinery and equipment including ductwork to 1 foot above the base flood elevation.
Drainage System Maintenance
Clay County can lose a portion of its drainage system carrying or storage capacity due to dumping, debris, soil erosion and sedimentation, and overgrowth of vegetation. When this happens, flooding occurs more frequently and reaches higher elevations, subjecting properties otherwise protected to unnecessary risk of damage. Keep grass clippings and other debris out of stormwater drainage systems to prevent loss of stormwater capacity. Per Clay County ordinance 2006-59, it is illegal to dump trash, debris, chemicals, or discharge any material other than rainwater into stormwater systems, streams and other surface waters.
Call the Clay County Public Works Department at (904) 269/284-6335 to report local drainage problems. Call Clay County Code Enforcement at (904) 269/284-6310 to report illegal dumping.
The following sources were used to prepare this webpage:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency
The United States Environmental Protection Agency
The Florida Department of Community Affairs, Division of Emergency Management
The American Red Cross
The Clay County Health Department
The Clay County Fire and Rescue Department, Division of Emergency Management