The land surrounding a body of water is known as a floodplain. In this area, water collects, pools, and flows during the course of natural events. Such areas are classified as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), and are located in a “100-year flood zone.” You may hear this term when you buy or rent a home, or apply for flood insurance.
Floods are classified according to their likelihood of occurring over a given period of time. This is a theoretical number. It does not indicate, for example, that a zone actually will flood every 100 years. The likelihood of a flood occurring within a 100-year stretch of time is high, but there is no way to predict when the next flood will occur. Rather, the term describes a zone with a flood elevation that has a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded by flood waters in any given year. Flood zones shift and change with time as data is collected and trends are monitored. Designations periodically need to be updated. With sea level rising, we can expect close monitoring of flood zones, and vigilant attention to designations.
Because flooding can be damaging and costly, we encourage everyone who lives and works in the City of Fort Lauderdale to learn about flood zones and determine how they affect you.