Flood and CRS Information

What is the Community Rating System ?

The Community Rating System (CRS) is an incentive program that encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) requirements. Flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS: (1) reduce flood losses; (2) facilitate accurate insurance rating; and (3) promote the awareness of flood insurance.

What is Bay County's Rating ?

In February of 2004, the Board of County Commissioners established the Bay County CRS Strategy Team to develop a course of action that would improve Bay County's rating. Implementation of a public awareness outreach program earned Bay County a class 7 rating, which provides for a 15% discount on flood insurance premiums. In 2008 Bay County increased their level of ourtreach programs and other activities and has improved their rating to a class 5. This increased Bay County residents' discount to 25%. In the last cycle evaluation conducted in 2013, Bay County retained a Class 5 rating. The next cycle evaluation is scheduled for June 2016.

2016 Community Rating System Progress Report Overview

Introduction: Bay County is prone to flood hazards associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, and rainfall with high intensity or duration. Due to historic development patterns, the County's population is largely clustered along the coast, meaning that, these hazards have the potential to seriously impact the safety of the general population and their property. The County has taken a number of measures to plan for such hazards, including participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Community Rating System (CRS). The Bay County Hazard Mitigation Strategy was initially adopted by the Bay County Board of County Commissioners on November 18, 1999 and has served as the Floodplain Management Plan since that time. The Plan was revised and adopted in late 2005 to ensure compliance with the Disaster Mitigation Act 2000 and additional CRS planning requirements. This document was completely updated in 2015 with a new floodplain management plan component. Copies of the Bay County Hazard Mitigation Strategy are available at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center, the Bay County Development Services Department, and the main branch of the Bay County Public Library on west 11th Street.

Plan Overview: Elements listed in Bay County's Hazard Mitigation Strategy provide cornerstones for floodplain management in a rapidly developing coastal community.

  • Reducing property damage
  • Protecting public assets
  • Building safely and carefully in vulnerable areas
  • Encouraging responsible growth in coastal areas
  • 2016 mid-year status of the CRS Program: Although there were no major storms or rain events, the County did have a slight increase in repetitive loss properties in 2015. For CRS purposes, repetitive loss properties are defined as any property that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has paid two or more flood claims of $1,000 or more in any given 10 year period. The County will continue to strengthen measures to minimize the potential loss of life and property should there be such an occurrence. Specifically, the County will undertake a review of its building code and standards in vulnerable shoreline areas, expand and intensify its public outreach and education programs, partner with other organizations, and mitigate for potential flooding resulting from stormwater runoff.

To view the Community Rating System Progress Report in its entirety, please click here: CRS Progress Report

Local Flood Hazard

Bay County is highly prone to flood hazards associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, and rainfall with high intensity or duration. Bay County averages about 80 thunderstorm days each year. The threat of flooding for Bay County is generally based on local rainfall conditions, and is not affected by rainfall from other states, or from upstream areas which are not in the County. For more information see the CRS Progress Report. For information regarding historical flooding in your area contact 850-248-8250.

Flood Safety

Safety precautions that you can take to protect your family and keep property loss to a minimum include: Keep a battery powered radio turned in to local stations, turn off all electricity; except to your refrigerator and freezer, Fill your tubs, sinks, and any available containers with water, Board up your windows to protect them from flying debris, Move valuables and furniture to higher elevations. Avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Visit FloodSmart.gov for more information.

Flood Insurance

Standard Property Insurance does not cover flood damage. Please visit the official site of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at FloodSmart.gov for more information. Federal flood insurance may not be available for properties designated as a Coastal Barrier Resource or Other Protected Area. For more information about CBRA/OPA contact 850-248-8250.

Property Protection Measures

The County's Building Department is available to answer public inquiries regarding floor elevations of existing properties, advice on how to select a qualified contractor, review of retrofitting plans, and onsite visits to advise owners of appropriate protection measures. See the CRS Progress Report for more details.

Natural and Beneficial Functions

In their undisturbed and natural state, area interior wetlands provide many beneficial functions, including floodplain management, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. Please visit FloodSmart.gov for more information.

Local Flood Hazard Maps

See the County's Interactive mapping maintained by the Geographic Information Systems Department for flood hazard maps, storm surge, and hurricane evacuation zones.

Flood Warning Systems

Bay County Emergency Operations Center, the National Weather Service, and the National Hurricane Center help to monitor flood and storm threats and advise the community accordingly. Potential flood alerts are issued over local radio and television stations, and over NOAA weather alert radio frequency FM-162.550 MHZ.

Permit Requirements

The County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and administers flood management regulations and other measures designed to minimize potential flooding losses. Any development requires a permit from Planning & Zoning Department. The County ensures development is taking place according to flood regulations. Regulations include required elevations of the floor in living areas, flood-proofing of certain construction, limitations on placement of fill and prohibitions of certain substantial improvements, additions or reconstruction.

In accordance with NFIP standards, the County requires that if the cost of any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value within a 10 year time period, such work is considered a substantial improvement. The existing building is then required to meet the same standards as a new building. For residential structures, these requirements typically mean raising the living area to the base flood elevation or above.

The County's substantial improvement requirements are enforced through the development and building permitting process. Applicants for remodeling or repair of non-conforming structures (i.e. buildings which are not elevated to or above the base flood elevation) are required to submit a cost estimate of improvements and an appraised value of the existing structure, to determine if the work constitutes a substantial improvement. With these requirements, the County ensures more of the older non-conforming structures will be elevated to base flood elevations, and protected from potential flood damage.See the Bay County Floodplain Management Ordinance for more information.

Drainage System Maintenance

The County continues to improve and maintain a stormwater management system. The County budgets funds for the inspection and maintenance of the drainage ditches, catch basins, and culverts that comprise the stormwater drainage system. All facets of the drainage system are inspected and maintained on an annual basis to ensure this system will function when heavy rains occur. The County enforces regulations which make it illegal to dump illicit debris in any stormwater inlets, ditches, or other waterways to further protect the integrity of the vital drainage system. Please see the Stormwater Engineering site for more information.

For Information Please Contact:

Wayne Porter
Bay County Planning & Zoning Division
840 West 11th Street
Panama City, FL 32401
(850) 248-8250