Flood Hazards/Flood Zone Information

During a major rainstorm, some areas of Long Beach could become flooded. Please take a minute to learn about the City's flood program, and how you can prepare for floods.

Topics:

Flood Insurance:

Standard homeowner insurance policies do not cover losses due to floods. However, Long Beach is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program, which allows Long Beach property owners to obtain federally backed flood insurance. This insurance is available to any owner of insurable property (a building or its contents) in Long Beach. Flood insurance is sometimes required by law, so call your insurance agent for details and rates.

Small: 8.5x11
Large: 36x36

Flood Insurance Rate Maps:

These maps show the 100-year floodplain as it appears on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) adopted Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) now in effect. To find out if your property is in a flood-hazard area, search the detailed maps that are on file on the 10th floor of City Hall, 333 West Ocean Boulevard, or call 570-6784.

Map Changes in the Works:

Los Angeles County Levee De-certification at Dominguez Channel & Compton Creek

The Los Angeles County Flood Control District analyzed the Compton Creek and the Dominguez Channel levees to determine if they meet the Federal requirements for flood protection. While the levees are structurally sound, they were found to no longer be able to contain FEMA's 100 year flood. As a result, FEMA will designate these areas as a flood zone, requiring mandatory flood insurance. The Flood Control District has begun analysis to develop improvement alternatives to address flood capacity, that include habitat restoration, aesthetic, and recreational improvements. For more information, see the Los Angeles County website.

FEMA's California Coastal Analysis and Mapping Project (CCAMP)

FEMA is currently undertaking a study of the entire California Coast using modern mapping and analysis methods. The study will result in revised flood hazard area mapping along the coast, with the new maps available in 2014. See AECOM's (FEMA's consultant engineer) CCAMP website.

City's Public Works Department

As opportunity presents itself, the City will apply to FEMA for changes to improve the City's flood hazard area mapping. With the completion of the Termino Avenue Storm Drain, the City hopes to eliminate one special flood hazard area southwest of Wilson High School.

Building in a Flood Zone

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires that if the cost of reconstruction, additions, or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value, the building must meet the same requirements as a new building. Substantially damaged buildings must also be brought up to the same standards. For example, a residence damaged so that the cost of repairs is 50% or more of the building's value before it was damaged must be elevated above the Base Flood Elevation.

Always check with the Development Services Department before building on, altering, filling, or re-grading on any portion of your property or any right-of-way.

Flood Safety

If you live in a flood zone, there are several actions you can take to minimize injury during a flood:

  • Turn off all electric circuits at the fuse panel or disconnect the switch. If this is not possible, turn off or disconnect all electrical appliances.
  • Shut off the water service and gas valves in your home.
  • Evacuate the flood hazard area in times of impending flooding or when advised to do so by police or fire officials.
  • Do not cross a flowing stream when water is above your knees. Keep children away from flood waters such as rivers, ditches, culverts and storm drains, even when it is not raining.
  • If your vehicle stalls in high water, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.
  • Keep an emergency supply. Non-perishable food, water, batteries, flashlights, a manual can-opener, and a battery-operated radio should be kept available.

Property Protection

Protect your property in advance. Here's what you can do to avoid future damage.

  • If time permits, move essential items and furniture to the upper floors of your home.
  • Elevate or relocate electrical panel boxes, furnaces, water heaters, and washers/dryers.
  • Install basement floor drains, interior and exterior backwater valves and interior floodwalls around utilities.
  • Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency waterproofing.
  • Locations that distribute sand bags can be obtained by calling the Emergency Preparedness Hotline at 570-5252. Sand must be purchase separately at hardware stores.
  • References on floodproofing are available at the Main Library, 101 Pacific Avenue, or by calling 570-7500.
  • Call Development Services at 570-6651 to obtain floodproofing permits or copies of recorded elevation certificates.
  • Always check with Building and Safety before you alter, re-grade, build on, or add fill on your property. If you see building or filling without a City permit sign posted, call 570-6651.
  • City staff are available to undertake site visits, if requested, to review flood, drainage, sewer, or retrofitting issues. If interested, call 570-5938.

Flood Warning System

Long Beach has developed a flood warning system designed to provide at least one hour of advance warning of a flood hazard. Flood watches (when conditions are conducive to flooding) and flood warnings (when flooding is imminent) will be issued via Reverse 9-1-1, the City's Emergency Notification System; LBTV Cable Channel 8; and TV, radio and mobile public address capabilities.

About the City's Storm Drains

Long Beach has complex system of storm drainage including streets, gutters, catch basins, underground pipes, ditches streams and creeks, channels and rivers, and pump stations. The storm drainage system must be kept clear of debris to ensure that it works efficiently. A plugged drain could cause unnecessary flooding when it rains. To report illegal dumping, call 570-3867.

The Natural and Beneficial Functions of Floodplains

Floodplains are a natural component of the environment. Understanding and protecting the natural functions of floodplains helps reduce flood damage and protect resources. When flooding spreads out across the floodplain, its energy is dissipated, which results in lower flood flows downstream, reduced erosion of earthen stream banks and channel bottoms, deposition of sediments higher in the watershed and improved groundwater surcharge. Floodplains are scenic, valued wildlife habitat. Poorly planned development in floodplains can lead to increased erosion, loss of valuable property, increased flooding to downstream properties, and degradation of water quality.

For More Information

Long Beach Public Library
FEMA's Flood Website
Los Angeles County Flood Information