Public Works - Floodplain Information

Kent Walia - Planner
Telephone: 305.893.6511, Ext. 19004

Floodplain Management Planning Committee

September Floodplain Management Committee Meeting
Thursday, September 28, 2017 | 3:00 p.m.
Keystone Center, 13050 Ixora
Click here to view the Agenda Packet
October Floodplain Management Committee Meeting
Thursday, October 26, 2017 | 11:00 a.m.
Gwen Margolis Center, 1590 NE 123 Street
Click here to view the Agenda Packet
November Irons Manor Homeowners Association Meeting
Flood protection information
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 | 6:30 p.m.
Griffing Community Center, 12220 Griffing Blvd.
December TBA
Flood Information

In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to provide affordable flood insurance to people who live in areas with the greatest risk of flooding; this area is called the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). The NFIP makes federally backed flood insurance available in communities that agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. This is important since property owners must purchase flood insurance for property located within a SFHA.

The Community Rating System (CRS) is a program developed by the Federal Insurance Administration to provide incentives for NFIP communities that implement more stringent floodplain standards than the minimum NFIP requirements. The CRS rewards these efforts with discounts on flood insurance premiums.

In North Miami, there are over 6,000 flood insurance policies in effect. Annually, the City’s CRS Class 5 rating generates over $1 million in savings on flood insurance premiums. Since flooding is the most common natural disaster, it is important that you obtain the maximum protection. You can purchase flood insurance no matter where you reside (in a high, moderate or low risk area) and there is no exclusion based on the type of ownership you represent (i.e. homeowner, renter or business owner). Since protecting your property from floods is important, the following information and tips may be of interest to you. Please refer to this fact sheet in the event of an impending hurricane, tropical storm or notification of projected heavy rainfall. During extended periods of heavy rainfall, low lying areas within the City are subject to flooding. This information is offered to help protect your property and reduce potential losses due to flooding.

The city of North Miami currently holds a Class 5 CRS rating. This classification equates to a 25% discount on new or renewing flood insurance policies for all SFHA properties and a 10% discount on policies for non-SFHA properties.

Flood Hazard

Flood Warning System

Business Damage Assessment Survey

Arch Creek, Little Arch Creek, Biscayne Canal and Oleta River are the four major waterways that traverse the city of North Miami. The majority of our storm sewer system empties/ discharges toward one of these four waterways or Biscayne Bay, which connects directly with the Atlantic Ocean. The waterways are influenced by tides that contribute to drainage and flood problems in the City. When there is a high tide or heavy rainfall, the storm sewer system will rapidly fill up from surface run-off and tidal waters; this could cause flood conditions in our streets, swale areas and lawns.

The city of North Miami can be divided into two major drainage areas: (1) the area west of the Biscayne Canal, and (2) the area east of the Biscayne Canal. The area west of the Biscayne Canal has primarily sandy soil and a very low water table elevation. The remainder of the City, east of the Biscayne Canal, consists of muck, marl and sand and primarily has high water table levels.

Your property may be elevated high enough that you have not experienced flooding. However, this may change in the future. Hurricane Andrew (1992), South Florida’s most devastating storm was not a wet hurricane as compared to Hurricane Irene (1999) which registered 13 inches of rain in Miami-Dade County in a 24-hour period. In 2000, continuous rainfall from the October 3 “No Name” storm deposited more than 19 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. This storm inundated local canals and waterways, and caused unprecedented residential property damage and destruction for what was originally forecast as a severe area thunderstorm.



Flood Warning System

The city of North Miami and Miami-Dade County utilize the National Weather Service (NWS) for flood notification. The NWS will issue flood advisories at least six (6) hours prior to expected heavy rainfall that could cause the drainage systems to overflow and create inland ponding of flood waters and the isolation of residential/business areas. Remain tuned to your local radio stations for up-to-date forecasts. In 2001, the City developed a citywide flood warning plan to provide early warning to neighborhoods that might experience flooding. Police vehicles will drive through the neighborhoods that may be impacted and use their sirens and loud speakers to issue warnings. Evacuation routes will be US Highway 1 (Biscayne Boulevard), 125 Street, 135 Street and Interstate 95.

Business Damage Assessment Survey

The City of North Miami Office of Emergency Management collects information to conduct initial damage assessments following storms that cause flooding in the City. This information is forwarded to Miami-Dade County’s Emergency Management Department. Any North Miami resident or business owner who sustains damage to their home, property or business may forward that information to North Miami’s Emergency Management Division by emailing Commander Angelo Brinson at or Ms. Athalie Edwards

Additionally, the business community may report damages (insured and uninsured) by completing the State Business Damage Assessment Survey. This form is available in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.

The City could qualify for a Small Business Administration Disaster Declaration if a minimum of 25 homes and/or businesses are damaged or destroyed, with uninsured losses of 40% or more.

For more information, contact the Office of Emergency Management at 305-893-6511, Ext. 2107 or

Flood Safety

If you are advised to evacuate, turn off your utilities at the main switches and/or valves. Disconnect electrical appliances, but do not touch any electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Do not walk or drive through standing or flowing water; there may be a downed power line, sinkhole or even a canal that you are unable to see. Watch your step in flooded areas as slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries after a storm.


Flood Insurance  

All properties located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and secured by a federally backed mortgage must carry flood insurance. PLEASE NOTE: When purchasing flood insurance, the policy does not go into effect until 30 days after the purchase date. Please visit for the most current information on flood insurance premiums and to locate a flood insurance agent in your area.

Did you know that North Miami homeowners receive a 25% discount on flood insurance? Because of the city of North Miami’s rating under the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System, policy holders who live in a Special Flood Hazard Area have enjoyed a 25 percent discount on their flood insurance premiums. A 10 percent discount on flood insurance is also available for those who live outside of special flood hazard area, except on preferred risk policies.

Financial Assistance for Property Protection  

Reducing flood risk to properties will lessen the overall cost of flood insurance claims to the NFIP as well as the individual homeowner. The federal government has created a variety of funding sources to help property owners reduce their exposure to flood damage. For additional information, contact the Community, Planning & Development Department at 305-895-9825.

For disaster relief assistance, visit:

For disaster relief assistance and financial resources, visit:

 For additional repetitive loss information and assistance, visit:

Floodplain Development Permit Requirements

All buildings under construction require permits. These permits should be obtained prior to commencement of construction activities. Contact the Building Department before you build, alter, regrade or add fill to your property. The Building Department is located at 12340 NE 8 Avenue. If you see building or fill being added to a property without a City permit posted, report the work to 305-895-9820.

Substantial Improvement Requirements

The city of North Miami and the National Flood Insurance Program require that if the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, additions or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50 percent of the building’s market value during a five-year period, the building must meet the same construction requirements as a new building. This includes elevating the lowest floor to current standards. Substantially damaged buildings must also be brought up to the same standards.

Drainage System Maintenance

Rainfall drains into floodplains such as the Everglades and our many wetlands, filters through these areas, and is eventually stored underground. Underground water is the only source of drinking and domestic water supply in South Florida. It is important that we protect and maintain these drainage areas; the quality of our drinking water depends on it! Furthermore, proper drainage helps reduce the risk of flooding. It is illegal for any direct or indirect entry of any solid, liquid or gaseous matter to enter the drainage system. The City inspects the drainage system on a regular basis and removes blockages that are found or reported. If you live near areas where waters flow, you can help in this process by keeping the banks clear of brush and debris. Reports of any violations should be made to the Public Works Department at 305-895-9870.

Natural and Beneficial Functions

The Oleta State Recreation Area and Mangrove Preserve, located between NE 135 Street and NE 163 Street and east of US Highway 1, has been designated as Environmentally Sensitive Land. These undisturbed natural areas of North Miami act as a natural storage area for flood waters; this helps reduce the possibility of flooding to nearby residences while helping to recharge the groundwater aquifer. Please help keep this area natural and beautiful by reporting any illegal dumping and littering violations to the City’s Code Compliance Department at 305-895-9832 or Miami-Dade County at 311.

Floodplain Functions  

Floodplains in our City serve a beneficial purpose to our quality of life. These low areas are where rainfall goes to drain, and when the rainfall drains into the ground, this helps reduce flooding, and recharges our drinking water supply. These floodplains also serve as filters of stormwater runoff as it seeps through the ground and into our aquifer. This aquifer is our only source of drinking water, and this filtering helps contain pollution before it reaches our aquifer! It is important that we appreciate our floodplains, and try to maintain, preserve and restore these areas whenever possible.

Important of Swales

A swale is a long narrow depression, which varies in depth and is typically wider than it is deep. It is a strip of land in front of your homes and adjacent to the street. (see the illustration above) Swales provide an area for stormwater runoff from roads and other impervious areas to accumulate or pond. Normal time for ponding in swales is typically 24 to 48 hours. Water in swales will eventually evaporate or infiltrate into the soil. Swales filter the stormwater and allow percolation of the water into the soil below.

Swales should have grass a form of cover that allows percolation into the soil below. Rock or pebbles are not allowed due to compaction of the material, and it does not allow the rainwater to percolate back into the ground. This condition floods your driveway and your neighbor.

Benefits of Swales:

  • Reduce flooding, allow water to pond and protect properties.
  • Provide filtering of runoff Reduce pollutants entering water bodies (canals, rivers, lakes, etc.)
  • Improve the look of the neighborhood.

Maintenance of Swales

  • Clear the swales of any debris including leaves, branches and other vegetation. Allow water to pond.
  • Mow swales, but allow good grass growth.
  • Minimize use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
  • Do not pave swales which will reduce the filtration and infiltration of the runoff.
  • Do not park in swale which causes compaction of the soil and reduces infiltration.

Map Determinations/Elevation Certificates

The City provides Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) determinations to let you know if you are in a flood hazard area and if you are required to carry flood insurance. If you would like a determination, contact the Building Department at 305-895-9820. You can also refer to the flood zone map on page 17 to determine if your property lies in a flood hazard area.

If you have determined that your house lies in a flood zone, a Flood Elevation Certificate can then tell you how high your house was built in relation to that flood zone. These certificates are required for all new construction and substantial improvements to a structure. A Flood Elevation Certificate is an important document that every homeowner should have, and in case of a disaster, would demonstrate to authorities that your house is at or above the required elevation.

If the certificate shows that your house is lower, then the "50% rule" would apply to your house. What this rule simply means is, if your house is located in a flood zone and is damaged and/or improved to an amount greater than 50% of its market value, it will have to be raised to meet the current elevation requirement.

The city of North Miami collects the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Elevation Certificate from home builders/developers as a requirement of their building permit.

Elevation certificates are also required for substantially damaged structures. For more information, call the Building Department at 305-895-9820 Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

To Obtain Your Flood Elevation Certificate

If your home was built after 1995, you may be able to find your elevation certificate by visiting the North Miami Building Department. If your home was built after 1995, and you are unable to access the information, we may have the information on file but have not scanned the Certificate as of yet. For more information, call the Building Department at 305-895-9820 Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

King Tide Information  

As a result of North Miami’s geographic location, the City is considered a coastal community and therefore vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea level rise. King Tides occur when the orbits and alignment of the Earth, moon, and sun combine to produce the greatest tidal effects of the year. King Tides bring unusually high water levels, and they can cause local tidal flooding. Over time, sea level rise is raising the height of tidal systems. Average daily water levels are rising along with the oceans. As a result, high tides are reaching higher and extending further inland than in the past. King Tides preview how sea level rise will affect coastal communities. As time goes by, the water level reached now during a King Tide will be the water level reached at high tide on an average day. King Tides are also known as perigean spring tides. King Tides are a normal occurrence once or twice every year in coastal areas such as North Miami. In the United States, they are predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


King Tides are the highest tides of the year. Residents and visitors are encouraged to stay safe and exercise precaution during this period.


  • Avoid contact with flood water. If you come into contact with flood water, be sure to rinse off with soap and water.
  • Avoid driving through flood areas.
  • Avoid parking in low lying areas.
  • Be aware of road closures and evacuation routes.
  • Use flood panels or sand bags to protect your property against flooding in low lying areas.
  • Check tide levels if you own a boat.
  • Rinse off landscaping if it comes into contact flood water.
  • Report standing water to the North Miami Public Works Department.


  • NE 125th Street, near NE 15th Avenue
  • NE 124th Street in Keystone
  • NE 135th Street, East of Biscayne Boulevard

**Other parts of North Miami may also be impacted.


Date AM Peak PM Peak
Friday, November 17 7:19 a.m 7:25 p.m.
Saturday, November 18 7:58 a.m 8:02 p.m.
Sunday, November 19 8:35 a.m 8:40 p.m.
Monday, November 20 9:13 a.m 9:17 p.m.
Tuesday, November 21 9:52 a.m 9:56 p.m.
Wednesday, November 22 10:32 a.m 10:37 p.m.
Thursday, November 23 11:13 a.m. 11:22 p.m.
Friday, November 24 11:58 a.m.  
Saturday, November 25 12:11 a.m. 12:45 p.m.
Sunday, November 26 1:06 a.m. 1:36 p.m.
Monday, November 27 2:06 a.m. 2:29 p.m.
Tuesday, November 28 3:06 a.m. 3:22 p.m.
Wednesday, November 29 4:03 a.m. 4:15 p.m.
Thursday, November 30 4:58 a.m. 5:07 p.m.
Friday, December 1 5:50 a.m. 5:57 p.m.
Saturday, December 2 6:41 a.m. 6:48 p.m.
Sunday, December 3 7:31 a.m. 7:39 p.m.
 (Source: NOAA #8723080 Haulover Pier Station)

If you encounter flooding in North Miami, please report it through the myNoMi app or contact the Public Works Department at 305-895-9878.

For more information about how to prepare for King Tides visit:

Required Disclosure in Contracts For Sale of Real Estate

As per Sec. 8.5-45 of the city of North Miami Code of Ordinances, in any contract or any rider to the contract for the sale of improved real estate located within a Special Flood Hazard Area in the City, the seller shall include the following disclosure in not less than ten-point bold-faced type:


Site Visits

Upon request, a representative from the North Miami Public Works Department will visit your property to review flooding problems and to explain possible ways to alleviate and prevent flood damage. Also, if you have experienced flooding, drainage, sewer backup problems, or have seen illegal dumping of debris into City canals, lakes, or storm drains, please contact the Public Works Department at 305-895-9878.

Mitigation Techniques


Elevating Your Home: What You Need to Know and Do:

If you are a Florida homeowner rebuilding after Hurricane Irma you may have to elevate your home to meet community floodplain management regulations.

Communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) require all homes being substantially improved, or homes that have sustained substantial damage, to be built or elevated to or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).

Substantial Improvement is a term used by NFIP and refers to the reconstruction or improvement of a structure that has been substantially damaged.

Substantial damage is also a term used by NFIP. You should contact your local building official to find out why or how a substantial damage determination was made on a building you own that was affected by Hurricane Irma.

Rules for elevation

  • You must follow floodplain ordinance requirements and get the proper permits when rebuilding. This will not only make your home safer but will save money on your federal flood insurance premiums.
  • Before rebuilding in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), be sure to check with local building officials. They are responsible for enforcing local elevation requirements, even in areas where the BFE has not been established.
  • Rebuilding higher than the minimum requirement is always a wise decision and saves on flood insurance premiums.

Programs available to assist with construction costs

  • If you live in an SFHA and are a homeowner with an NFIP policy whose home was substantially damaged you may be eligible for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage of up to $30,000. This can pay all or part of the cost to elevate your home to the current effective BFE.
  • You may be eligible for ICC coverage if your local floodplain building official determines either:
    • Your structure is substantially damaged, meaning the cost to repair the flood damaged structure is 50 percent or more of its pre-disaster market value; or
    • Your property sustained repetitive damage, meaning that flood damage has occurred twice in the past 10 years, and the cost of repairing the flood damage, on average,equaled or exceeded 25 percent of the property market value at the time of each flood. Those two flood damage events must have resulted in flood insurance claim payments, and the community’s floodplain management ordinance must have a repetitive loss provision.
  • An in-depth FEMA booklet about the process of elevating your home is available online.
  • FEMA’s Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting provides further information about elevating your house.
  • FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Flood Mitigation Assistance Program and Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program all include property elevations as an eligible project type. Your local community, not individual survivors, must apply for mitigation grants. To qualify, you must meet all eligibility criteria and then apply through your local community, which applies to the State. The State subsequently submits applications to FEMA for review and approval. Project approval is necessary before construction can begin.gin.
  • Mitigation information from Florida’s Division of Emergency Management is available online at:
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of funding for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts with low-interest disaster loans. These loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other sources and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
    • o Loans can be increased by up to 20 percent of the verified physical loss for mitigation measures (not to exceed $200,000) including:
      • Building elevation;
      • Retaining walls;
      • Seawalls;
      • Sump pumps; and
      • Relocating utilities.
  • For more information, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955, emailing , or visiting SBA’s website at Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call 800-877-8339. The deadline to apply for an SBA disaster loan is Nov. 24, 2017.


Flood Protection Tips

Protecting Your Property:

If your lot is large enough, you should consider re-grading it or building a small floodwall. You can also place watertight closures over the doorways; however, these approaches only protect if flooding is not too deep. You can also consider elevating your home.

Flood-proofing, installing floodgates and making walls waterproof are among the common ways to structurally protect commercial property. Most times, residential structures are elevated higher than the anticipated floodwaters. For additional assistance on how to protect your property from flooding, you may contact the North Miami Public Works Department at 305-895-9878, or you may contact the City’s Building Official at 305-895-9820.

Additional information on how to perform residential retrofitting or commercial flood proofing is available at the North Miami Public Library in the City’s Floodplain Management/Community Rating System reference section.

Minimizing Flood Damage:

Don’t throw or dump anything into storm sewers or canals within the City. Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels and drains. A plugged channel or storm drain cannot carry water when it rains. Clogged storm drains will cause water to back up into the street and may cause flooding. Every piece of trash contributes to flooding. If your property is next to a canal, help keep the banks clear of brush and debris. The City has a canal maintenance program which can help remove major blockages such as downed trees; please report any blockages to the Public Works Department at 305-895-9878.

Do Not Walk Through Flowing Water or Drive Through Flooded Area:

Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there. Also, do not disregard road barriers, the road or bridge may be washed out.

Stay Away from Power Lines and Electrical Wires:

Electrocution is the number two flood killer. Electrical currents can travel through water. Report downed power lines to Florida Power and Light; the number is 305-442-8770. You can also report downed power lines to the North Miami Police Department at 305-891-8111.

Have Your Electricity Turned Off by FPL:

Some appliances, such as television sets, hold electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Avoid using appliances or motors which have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned and dried. It’s easy to stop your FPL service in case of emergency, call 1-800-226-3545 to stop and restart your service.

Be Ready for the Unexpected:

Place important documents inside plastic bags or other waterproof containers. Review your insurance policy to ensure it provides adequate coverage. Know what type of coverage you have. Most policies cover wind storm damage, but not flooding. Any policy change usually takes 30 days before going into effect.

Look Out for Animals, Especially Snakes:

Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over and scare away small animals. Even domesticated animals may react differently after a disaster or storm and could bite or attack.

Look Before You Step:

After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris, including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery and create a hazard.

Be Alert for Gas Leaks:

If you use natural gas, use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.

If You Must Evacuate:

If you are required to evacuate, try to move to the house of a friend or family member not affected by the impending high waters. If you live in a mobile home or are electrically dependent, plan to evacuate at the first notice of the emergency conditions. Rehearse your evacuation plan with all household members. Plan to leave early to avoid any traffic delays.

Register with the Miami-Dade County Emergency Evacuation Assistance Program at 311 or TDD at 305-468-5402 if you will need assistance to evacuate. Discuss these tips with your neighbors and friends. Try to have a prearranged plan designating how you can contact your neighbors. If you have to evacuate, inform each other of places where you will be staying and leave contact telephone numbers and addresses.

Securing Boats:

If you own a boat, it’s your responsibility to secure it. As a boat owner, you should make a plan in advance to move your boat or arrange for its storage. Check with a local marina for suitable alternatives. If possible, store it inside a garage or warehouse. If you must leave your boat outside, attach the trailer tongue to something firm in the ground, let the air out of the tires and make sure the boat is secure to the trailer. If possible, fill the bilge with water, which adds extra weight.

If you plan to keep your boat in the canal, be sure to double the dock lines, leaving sufficient space for the tidal range and put out extra anchors. Don’t forget to remove all marine electronics or other unsecured equipment. Sail boaters should remove self-furling sails and Bimini tops. Boats on davits should be secured with extra tie lines and in such a manner to keep the boat from swinging during high winds.

Pet Safety Tips:

Remember, most evacuation centers will not accept pets. So make plans in advance to board your pets in an animal kennel or with friends. If you plan to ask a friend, be sure to ask in advance. Make certain that your friend lives in an area that is not expected to be affected by the storm. Ask if their home would be open to you and/or your pet should a storm threaten.

Do not leave your pet home during a hurricane. A secure room and a few day’s food and water do not necessarily mean safety for your pet. Many people returned home after Hurricane Andrew to find their pets missing. Keep a current picture of your pet to help identify it. After the storm, take caution in allowing your pet outdoors after the storm has passed. Familiar scents and landmarks will have been altered and your pet may become confused or lost. Downed power lines also present real dangers. Take precautions not to allow your pet to consume food or water which may have become contaminated.

Flood Map  

Additional information on local flood problems, depths of flooding, historical flooding events and areas that should be protected because of their natural floodplain functions are available upon request by contacting the Public Works Department at 305-895-9878 or the Community Planning & Development Department at 305-895-9825.

To view what Floodplain you are in by using an interactive map go to:

To download the Flood Insurance Study, Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Letter of Map Changes click here.

For additional facts about flooding, we recommend the following sites:

Flood Zone Designations

Zone A is the flood insurance rate zone determined by approximate methods, as no Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) are available for these areas. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.

Zone AE is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds with flood depths greater than 3 feet. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.

Zone AH is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to areas of shallow flooding with average depths between 1 and 3 feet. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.

Zone VE is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to coastal areas that have additional hazards associated with storm waves. Mandatory flood insurance requirements apply.

Zone X and Zone X-500 are flood insurance rate zones that are outside the flood plain or with average flood depths of less than 1 foot.

Flood insurance purchase is not mandatory.




Top to the pageTop

City of North Miami | 776 NE 125 Street | North Miami | Florida 33161 | 305.893.6511