Ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa, Pinellas County announced the launch of their new storm surge flooding risk tool, via desktop or mobile app at storm.pinellascounty.org.
According to a release from the county on Monday, July 5, the tool “models potential storm surge flooding based on the National Hurricane Center’s forecast of the current tropical storm. The data upon which the risk is calculated is not updated as the storm approaches, so residents should closely monitor the storm.”
The flood risk tool shows how high the water will be above the ground – not above the finished floor of your home.
“Each building owner will need to determine their specific risk,” based on the data, according to the county.
The release reminds residents that the tool shows only projected flooding from storm surge; rainfall-induced flooding and waves may also be a threat, and that residents should prepare their homes accordingly with the use of sandbags and other flood-control measures.
If life-threatening storm surge is expected, the county will issue an evacuation order and this tool will not be available. Evacuation information is available on the the Know Your Zone evacuation zone map.
Other Advice & Information for Residents in Flood-prone areas:
To prepare your home for flooding, the county recommends residents:
- Take a household inventory. Take photos and videos of expensive items. Take these records with you if you must evacuate.
- Take important papers such as birth certificates, passports, medical records and insurance papers in a protective cover.
- Elevate or move your furniture, appliances and valuables to a safe place, such as an attic or the highest floor of your home.
- Prepare a small bag with essentials and take with you.
- Have battery-operated flashlights and radios with you.
If you experience flooding, the county advises that you:
- Shut off water service, gas service and electricity to your home.
- Get yourself, your loved ones and your pets to a location safe from flooding as soon as possible.
- Know your evacuation routes and plan where you will go.
- Heed warnings from officials – evacuate when orders are given.
If you must evacuate:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you must walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the vehicle and move to higher ground immediately if you can do so safely.
- You and the vehicle can be swept away:
- Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
- Once the vehicle is stalled, you can be at the mercy of the forces of the flood waters and swept away.
- One foot of water will float many vehicles.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-ups.