Flood Protection Information
- Flood Information
- Flood Insurance
- Flood Protection Assistance
- Flood Hazard Areas
- The Flood Hazard
- Flooding & Flash Flooding
- Flood Warning System
- Flood Safety Measures
- Property Protection
- Substantial Improvement Requirements
- Drainage System Maintenance
- Natural & Beneficial Functions
- Floodplain Development Permit Requirements
- Additional Information for Mortgage Lenders, Insurance Agents, Real Estate Agents & Appraisers
The City of Denton has adopted the latest Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) effective April 18, 2011, as issued by FEMA. For general information about FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Maps please call 800-358-9616 or visit FEMA's website. City of Denton floodplain areas can also be displayed using the City of Denton Interactive Map. Floodplain maps are also available for reference in the Capital Projects Department at the City Service Center located at 901-A Texas Street and at any Denton Public Library. Elevation certificates of all properties in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) are available and on file in the Capital Projects Department, and copies are available upon request.
The purchase of federal flood insurance is highly recommended for the residents of Denton. Basic homeowner's insurance policies don't cover damage from floods. The City of Denton participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which means that federally subsidized flood insurance is available to everyone in the City. There is a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective. Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank or loan company when they obtained a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building structure and not the contents. A flood insurance policy must be renewed each year.
Mandatory Purchase Requirement: The mandatory purchase requirement applies to all forms of federal or federally related financial assistance for buildings located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). This requirement affects loans and grants for the purchase, construction, repair or improvement of any publicly or privately owned buildings in a SFHA, including machinery, equipment, fixtures and furnishings contained in such buildings. If a building is located in a SFHA, the agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building.
Flood Protection Assistance
As residents and owners of property, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers of flooding and how to protect yourself and your property. You will find additional detailed information on the topics discussed at the Denton Public Library, or you may call the City of Denton Engineering Services Department. The Department will provide information for flood protection assistance upon request. Information available includes required finished floor or flood proofing elevations, suggestions for flood proofing of structures, names of contractors and how to select one. The Engineering Services Department, upon request, will also make site visits and review flood protection plans for compliance with minimum NFIP criteria.
Flood Hazard Areas
The flood hazard areas in Denton are located mainly along Cooper Creek, Pecan Creek, North Pecan Creek, Hickory Creek, Dry Fork Hickory Creek and their tributaries. Channel improvements constructed by the City of Denton along Pecan Creek Tributary 4 (PEC-4) have reduced the regulatory floodplain elevation in parts of downtown Denton. The area within the 100-year floodplain was also reduced significantly along Pecan Creek from approximately Ruddell Street upstream to Oakland Street. A detailed map of these areas can be obtained from the City of Denton Capital Projects Department.
The Flood Hazard
During floods, average water velocities in streams in Denton will range from one to sixteen miles per hour. When you consider that just one cubic foot of water weighs over 62 pounds and the typical flow rate during a flood will be several thousand cubic feet of water each second, you can imagine the immense force floodwaters will exert on anything in their path. Floodwaters can rise very fast. Flood hazards include large volumes of fast moving water and large debris moving with the flow. Flooding can happen often and when least expected. Just because your home or business has not flooded in recent years does not mean it will not flood in the future. Heavy rainfall in April and May of 2015 caused flooding in some areas of the City. In prior years, heavy rainfall in 2007 and 1996 produced major flooding in the City of Denton. Similar rainfall can occur again at any time.
Flooding & Flash Flooding
Flash floods often result from small creeks and streams overflowing during heavy rainfall. These floods often become raging torrents of water, which rip through riverbeds, city streets, coastal sections and valleys or canyons. Flash flooding usually occurs within six hours of a heavy rain event.
On the other hand, a flood is a natural and inevitable part of life along our country's rivers. These floods occur seasonally with general rains or torrential rains associated with tropical storms, that later drain in river basins.
Flood Warning System
The City of Denton has developed a flood warning system for properties in floodplains. Severe weather alerts and flood warnings will be issued by radio (KNTU FM 88.1), local TV Channel 26, all cable TV stations in Denton (audio override and bulletin board) and on NOAA weather radios. The system, which is operated manually by the National Weather Service and Emergency Management trained SKYWARN volunteers, can provide one hour advanced warning of a flood hazard. Battery operated NOAA weather radios may be purchased to receive warnings during power and telephone outages. The City has also implemented a two-way radio and paging system (911 Dispatch) that can be used by Emergency Management personnel to activate warning sirens throughout the City as needed.
Flash Flood Watch means that flash flooding is possible within the watch area. Flash Flood Warning means that flash flooding is imminent or has been reported in the warning area. Contact the City of Denton Office of Emergency Management for more information at 940-349-8836.
Flood Safety Measures
Several actions you can take to reduce the chance of injury in the event of a flood include the following:
- Never camp on low ground next to streams since a flash flood can catch you while you are asleep.
- Do not allow children to play around streams, drainage ditches or viaducts, storm drains, or other flooded areas.
- Learn the safest route from your home or business to higher, safer ground and stay tuned to reports of changing flood conditions.
- Evacuate the flood hazard area in times of impending flood. If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe shelter, hotel or relative's house.
- If time permits, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary.
- Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood related deaths. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than in any other location. Vehicles also push water into homes and cause additional property damage.
- Avoid already flooded areas, and areas subject to sudden flooding. It's important to keep in mind that two feet of water will carry away most automobiles.
- If your route is blocked by floodwaters or barricades, find another route. Barricades are put up by local officials to protect people from unsafe roads. Driving around them can be a serious risk. If your vehicle becomes surrounded by water or the engine stalls, and if you can safely get out, abandon your vehicle immediately and climb to higher ground.
- Keep a NOAA weather portable radio, emergency cooking equipment and flashlights available and in working order.
Rather than wait for a flood to occur, you can act now to protect your property from flood damage. Various alternatives are available to help minimize flooding. If the floor level of your property or structure is lower than the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) located on the City's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), consider ways to prevent flooding from occurring such as retrofitting your building. "Retrofitting" means altering your building to eliminate or reduce flood damage.
Retrofitting measures include:
- Elevating the building so that flood waters do not enter or reach any damageable portion of it
- Constructing barriers out of fill or concrete between the building and flood waters
- "Dry floodproofing" to make the building walls and floor watertight so water does not enter
- "Wet floodproofing" to modify the structure and locate the contents so that when flood waters enter the building there is little or no damage
- Preventing basement flooding from sewer backup or sump pump failure
There are several good references on retrofitting available at the City of Denton Engineering Services Department and the Denton Public Library. They can help to inform you about retrofitting techniques and help you determine which is best for you.
Substantial Improvement Requirements
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires that 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, must meet the same construction requirements as a new building and be constructed a minimum of 30 inches above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) listed on the City of Denton City's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).
What Is Substantial Damage?
Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a building or structure when the cost of restoring the building to its pre-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the building before the damage occurred. Substantial damage is determined regardless of the actual repair work performed.
Denton requires any substantial improvement or substantial damage improvement to have a building permit from the Building Inspections Department located at 215 West Hickory Street, reachable via 940-349-8360.
Drainage System Maintenance
The Drainage Division is responsible for maintaining the City of Denton drainage system. Annual inspections are conducted on major channels for silt or blockages. Cleaning or re-grading of channels is typically done in the dry summer months while concrete channels are cleaned and maintained as needed in the fall. Maintenance requests are addressed according to available manpower, equipment and number of citizen requests. Debris removed include weeds, brush, litter, rocks, mud and tree limbs. Large trees are not removed unless they pose a specific problem. Dumping of yard clippings, leaves, tree limbs, or debris in storm drains or channels will restrict flow capacity, may increase flooding and is also illegal. Dumping also increases maintenance costs for the City of Denton. Report illegal dumping by calling the Engineering Services Department at 940-349-8910.
Natural & Beneficial Functions
Denton is a beautiful place to live. Many undisturbed creeks and wetlands provide a wide range of benefits to human and natural systems. They provide flood storage and conveyance and reduce flood velocities and flood peaks. Water quality is improved because creeks and wetlands filter nutrients and impurities from runoff and process organic wastes. Local creeks and wetlands provide breeding and feeding grounds for fish and wildlife, create and enhance waterfowl habitat, and serve as habitats for rare and endangered species. Denton has designated many creeks, wetlands and floodplains as environmentally sensitive areas and protects them through regulations, thereby preserving vital water related resources. They provide open space, aesthetic pleasure and areas for active and passive uses.
Floodplain Development Permit Requirements
Because the City of Denton participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the federal government subsidizes flood insurance for the residents of Denton. The City of Denton must require floodplain development permits and enforce construction guidelines in the floodplain and floodway in order to comply with NFIP regulations. If the City fails to comply, it will be expelled from the program making it impossible for residents to obtain flood insurance. That would also mean it would be impossible to obtain federally backed financing on homes or businesses in flood hazard areas.
The floodplain consists of the floodway and the floodway fringe. The floodway carries the major flow of a stream at relatively high depths and velocities along the centerline of the creek. The floodway fringe areas extend outside the floodway and typically carry water at more shallow depths. Because the integrity of the floodplain is fragile and because flooding is a major safety issue, all development in the floodplain must be permitted and monitored. This applies to construction of buildings and to any activities such as erecting fences or other permanent structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation, drilling, or storage of equipment or supplies that will hinder or re-direct the flow path of storm water runoff in the floodplain. Report illegal floodplain development by calling the City of Denton Engineering Services Department at 940-349-8910.
When considering the purchase of property or a building or expanding on the property you now own, it is important to call the City of Denton Engineering Services Department at 940-349-8910 for a floodplain determination. Several guidelines must be followed when building in the floodplain for public safety reasons and to protect properties.
Community Rating System
The City of Denton is a member of the Community Rating System (CRS). Because the City's Flood Protection Ordinance is more stringent than Federal rules, residents of Denton receive a 10% flood insurance rate discount for property in the floodplain and a 5% flood insurance rate discount for property not in a floodplain area.
Additional Information for Mortgage Lenders, Insurance Agents, Real Estate Agents & Appraisers
The City of Denton's Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) issued by FEMA became effective on April 18, 2011. For electronic copies of the FIRMs please visit the FEMA website. An interactive map maintained by the City of Denton showing floodplain locations can also be accessed.
The City of Denton Engineering Services Department offers all insurance agents, real estate agents, mortgage lenders and real estate appraisers a free floodplain determination service based on FEMA data for properties located inside the City of Denton limits. Information that can be given includes the community number, panel number, FIRM suffix, map revision date, flood zone, floodway information, Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and elevation datum used on the FIRM.
Letters of Map Revision
In Denton, several Letters of Map Revision (LOMRs) have been issued by FEMA after the FIRMs were published. These LOMRs revise the special flood hazard areas and BFEs in local areas and invalidate the information shown on parts of the FIRM. The City retains copies of the LOMRs and will provide the current information when available. The City of Denton cannot give BFEs in "X" zones or unnumbered "A" zones because the elevations have not been determined; however, the City will try to assist in determining those if an inquirer requests that information.
The City of Denton hereby informs all inquirers of the mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement for all federally backed mortgages for buildings located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) also known as the 100-year floodplain or the area inundated by the Base Flood.
SFHA and BFE determinations based on the FIRM and LOMRs may be obtained by calling the Floodplain Administrator in the Engineering Services Department at 940-349-8910. Building elevation certificates may also be available from the City for some buildings constructed since 1984.
Please note that a property not in a SFHA as shown on the FIRM may still be at risk of flooding from a local drainage problem not shown on the FIRM and/or from a flood greater than those shown on the FIRM. Therefore, the determination assistance provided by the City does not create liability on the part of the City or any officer or employee of the City for issues that result from reliance on the FIRM information.
In addition to the floodplain determination service, the City of Denton can offer general advice and suggestions for flood protection to all inquirers. Information may include required or recommended minimum finish floor or flood proofing elevations. Engineering Services Department personnel can also perform site visits and review flood protection plans. The City of Denton also offers a collection of flood protection references that are available at the Denton public library and/or in the Engineering Services Department.
Finally, the City of Denton can provide maps of Environmentally Sensitive Areas throughout the City that have been identified for protection because of their natural floodplain functions.