Flood Hazards in Lauderhill
The residents of Lauderhill are located in the heart of Broward County. It offers a vibrant mix of diverse cultures. City facilities include several beautiful parks, a sports complex, several community centers, public swimming pools, and so much more. But we also need to keep in mind that along with these benefits come natural hazards. Flooding is one of the most common risks to our residents. Most of Lauderhill is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Tropical storms and hurricanes are a way of life here in South Florida. Localized heavy rainfalls can cause flooding due to the poor drainage qualities of our soil. It was found that of the twenty-seven reported repetitive losses within our City, almost 90% of them were caused by a storm event. From Tropical Storm Gordon in 1994 to the most recent Hurricane Wilma, these events can cause serious property damage.
Practice these tips to ensure safety during a flood:
- Pay attention to evacuation routes. Local radio and TV stations will broadcast forecasts and emergency warnings. Have an emergency evacuation plan in place for you and your family.
- Do not drive through a flooded area. Watch for road barriers and do not drive around them. They are there for your protection; the bridge may be washed out.
- Do not walk through flowing water. Six inches of water if moving fast enough, can knock you off your feet. Currents can be deceptive.
- Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. Water carries electrical current. Report downed power lines to Florida Power & Light at 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243). Teach your kids about the hidden dangers of electricity.
- Have the power company turn off your electricity. Some appliances, like TVs, keep electrical charges even after they've been unplugged. They will need to be taken apart, cleaned, and dried before it will be safe to use again.
- Look before you step. Broken glass, nails, bottles, stairs covered with mud after a flood are hazardous and can be very slippery.
- Be alert for gas leaks. Inspect any damage with a flash light instead of candles, lanterns, or open flames. Be sure that the gas has been shut off and the area has been ventilated.
Property Protection Measures
There are several ways that you can help to protect your property from damage by a flood before it happens. If there is a definite threat, you can take these emergency measures to help mitigate that damage:
- Place sandbags or plastic sheeting in front of doorways and other low points around your home.
- Elevate furniture.
- Move the most valuable items to a higher level.
- Create floodway openings in areas not be lived in such as the garage doors.
- Seal off sewer lines to the home to prevent the backflow of sewer waters.
More permanent changes can be made to a building as well:
- Re-grade the lot to keep the water away from the structure.
- Build a berm with dirt or small floodwall around your property.
- If your house has a crawlspace, move all items subject to damage out of harm's way so water can flow into the crawlspace without causing problems (wet flood proofing)
- Dry flood proof which means to add watertight closures over the doors and make the walls waterproof.
- Elevate electrical boxes, water heaters, washers and dryers, and air conditioners.
- Install backflow preventers.
- Install professionally made storm shutters that are rated to withstand hurricane winds.
Natural and beneficial functions of our floodplain
Flooding from hurricanes and storms is essential and a natural occurrence which increases soil fertility, creates wetland, rejuvenates spawning gravel, creates barrier islands, promotes aquatic habitat, creates fish habitat and bank stability, promotes plant establishment, and the evolution of channels and shoreline features such as dunes. The seasonal rains we experience are a part of the normal function of the floodplain zone. The water flow is critical to maintaining vegetation when it moves sediment and nutrients from rivers, ocean or lakes onto the connecting floodplain. The vegetation that grows along our canals helps stabilize the banks and provide habitat for wildlife as well as control erosion and sedimentation. It improves water quality by filtering pollutants. It is very important that we maintain our floodplain.
Our regulations require that a permit be pulled from the Building Department before you build on, alter, re-grade or fill on your property. It is needed to make sure that those projects do not cause drainage problems on the property. New buildings must meet the same criteria. Our building code requires that all substantial improvements to buildings meet the same requirements. That means that any combination of repair, reconstruction, or addition to a home must have a permit. If you see building or filling without a City permit posted, contact the Building Department at (954) 730-3060.
Drainage System Maintenance
Our City's drainage system is routinely maintained by our Storm Water Division. This means that all storm drains and canals are cleared of debris and sprayed for weeds. A drainage system consists of storm drains, canals, and storm water pipes. This system is designed to move water during a storm and help prevent flooding. Dumping debris, soil erosion and overgrowth of vegetation can prevent the system from functioning as it should. Do not dump or throw anything into ditches, storm drains, canals or lakes. This is illegal. Keeping grass clippings and other debris out of the storm water drains will help maintain the health of the drainage system. If you see someone dumping anything into a storm drain or water body, call Public Works at (954) 730-2960 or the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at (904) 807-3300.