Historical flooding of Huntington Beach dates back to 1825. The most recent flooding was February 6 and 7, 1998, when a constant rainfall and heavy downpour caused street closures, intersection flooding, and up to 2-3 feet deep flooding in a mobile home park. A tornado caused damage on February 24, 1998, to a mobile home park.
Flooding can come with little warning. Residents in flood prone areas will be warned of an actual emergency condition by the sounding of a steady siren tone lasting three minutes. This signal will be provided by one or more local fire stations. Warning and emergency procedures will be announced on local cable TV, HBTV-3 (Channel 3) and radio stations KWVE (107.9 FM) abd KXMX (95.9 FM).
Although improvements to the Santa Ana River have reduced potential flood impacts, flooding in our city may occur. It may be caused by the Santa Ana River, East Garden Grove Wintersburg Channel, Talbert Channel, Huntington Beach Channel, or the Pacific Ocean. Most floods occur when the floodwaters leave the river or channels; however, abnormally large sea waves (tsunamis) from the ocean may create flooding near the coastline.
To determine if flood insurance is required for your property and to obtain flood protection advice, you may contact the Planning staff at (714) 536-5271.
Homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. Because Huntington Beach participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy. This insurance is backed by the Federal government and is available to everyone, even for properties that have been flooded. If you don't have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent.
Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required when they got a mortgage or home improvement loan. Insurance is available for tenants to protect their personal property against flood loss and to property owners with older mortgages that do not require it.
More information about NFIP flood insurance requirements is available on this FEMA handout and on the internet at Fema's Website. The site contains hazard information, a general flood map, and a frequently asked question page. You may contact them at 1-888-CALL-FLOOD.
What you can do:
Flood damage protection depends also on your cooperation and assistance. Here is how you can help:
- Always check with the City before you build on, alter, regrade, or add fill to your property. A permit is required to ensure that projects do not cause problems on other properties.
- If you see building construction without a City permit inspection card posted, contact the Building Department at (714) 536-5241.
- Check out information on floodproofing, flood insurance, and flood safety by calling the Planning Department at (714) 536-5271.
- Do not dump or throw anything in the storm drain catch basins or flood control channels. Dumping is a violation of the City's Municipal Code Section 14.24.030 and 14.24.035. Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug the drainage system. The City has a flood control channel maintenance program which helps remove major blockages such as weeds and other debris. A plugged drain or channel cannot carry water, and when it rains, the water has to go somewhere. Every piece of trash contributes to flooding.
- If you see dumping or debris in the gutters, catch basins, or channels, contact the Public Works Department at (714) 536-5431.
- FEMA Flood Resistant Materials
Construction within Floodplain:
When a property is located in the floodplain, all new construction or substantial improvement that equals or exceeds 50% of the building's depreciated value is required to comply with the City's floodplain overlay regulations which require elevation of residential structures. Nonresidential structures may be elevated and/or floodproofed. A completed flood elevation certificate must be submitted to the City following completion of the structure's lowest floor. FEMA elevation and floodproofing certificate forms are located below:
Flood Worksheet -- Revised October 2010
New Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM)
On December 3, 2009, FEMA released new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for the City of Huntington Beach. The revised maps are slightly different from their predecessor in that the maps are provided in both a hardcopy and digital format. The most notable change to the maps includes aerial photography superimposed on each map panel that will make it easier to determine flood zone boundaries and render flood zone determinations. All other standard information presently on the maps will remain the same with exception of one discrepancy. The most recent Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) effective on March 30, 2009, which removed the southeast section of the City from flood zone "AE" to "X", is not reflected on the maps and therefore depicts the previous "AE" designation for that area. However, FEMA has revalidated the previous LOMR with new maps dated December 15, 2009 (Case No. 09-09-2810P). Copies of the new FIRMs and LOMR can be obtained at the links located below or they can be viewed online through FEMA's website. FEMA's online format allows you to print a portion of the FIRM as it pertains to your area, called a "FIRMette". Directions for searching for a particular map and making a FIRMette can be obtained by clicking on the menu item "map search" at the FEMA website www.store.msc.fema.gov and then choosing the "View" option from the "Map Search Result" page. Should you have any questions regarding the flood maps, please contact the Planning and Building Department at (714) 536-5271.
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) December 3, 2009
Letter of Map Revision - Clarification September 2, 2009
Letter of Map Revision -- Cover Letter December 15, 2009
Letter of Map Revision December 15, 2009
Map Revision for Huntington Harbour
The flood zone boundaries of Huntington Harbour have been revised pursuant to a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) dated September 27, 2010 (Case No. 10-09-2398P), which aligns these boundaries with the existing contours of the channels. The realignment designates all areas within the channels as flood zone AE and all non-submerged waterfront lots as flood zone X(shaded). The revised maps affect a number of waterfront properties abutting Huntington Harbour. A copy of the LOMR can be obtained at the link located below.
Letter of Map Revision September 27, 2010