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​Flooding In Palm Beach County

Several factors contribute to Palm Beach County's flooding. Among these are rainfall intensity, rainfall duration, surface conditions, topography, and poor natural drainage. An increasingly significant contributing factor is rapid water runoff associated with the vast areas of impervious surfaces created by new development, often creating flood prone areas where they didn't previously exist.  Flooding often occurs as a result of extended wet periods that create saturated soil conditions, after which additional rain causes surface ponding or overflows catchment canals and ponds.  Intense or prolonged concentrated rain is the primary cause of localized flooding throughout the county.  Maintenance of major drainage canals and pumps is critical to managing the area's water levels, as is keeping neighborhood drainage systems free from obstructions. The task of managing water levels is slowed and complicated by our flat terrain.

Palm Beach County's coastal areas are susceptible to storm-surge flooding, which is a sudden and massive buildup of water levels by the force of onshore winds produced by tropical storms and hurricanes. Water levels of 12 feet or more can overflow normally dry lands with devastating results. The severity of flooding can vary significantly based on a variety of factors such as storm intensity, forward speed, angle of attack, the slope of continental shelf, tidal conditions, etc. The northern and southern coastal areas of the county are somewhat more susceptible to surge flooding than are the central sections.

Improbable, but very serious flood threats include the potential overtopping of Lake Okeechobee or a breach of the Herbert Hoover Dike that helps contain the Lake. An event like the 1928 hurricane flooding which killed thousands in western Palm Beach County remains a worst-case flood disaster scenario.

King Tide

A King Tide is the non-scientific term used to describe exceptionally high tides. King Tides occur annually and predictably; in September through November in Palm Beach County. King Tides may cause residents to experience "sunny day flooding" where a street or other areas will temporarily become flooded when it is not raining.

Tides occur as a result of the moon's gravitational pull on oceans. The height of tides depend mostly on where the moon is in its 28-day orbit around the Earth and on every 14th day, the moon and the sun line up with the Earth, creating these higher tides. That's why you can expect to see a higher tides on the same day you observe a full moon or a new moon! Some king tides are higher than others based on how close the moon is to the Earth at that time.

Days when we expect the highest tides in 2023 are:

Days when we expect the highest tides in 2023 are:
September 29- October 2, expected within three inches of action stage
October 27-31, expected within three inches of action stage
November 26, expected within three inches of action stage

Please note that king tides for 2023 are not predicted to reach the action stage or the flood stage, but various factors, including storms, may cause higher-than-expected sea levels and flooding, and that your location may flood at lower sea levels than the NOAA action stage or flood stage. 

King tide flooding is not guaranteed during these dates, and sunny-day and other types of flooding, such as rainfall-induced flooding or storm surge, may occur outside of these dates!​

​Flood Insurance

Flooding can occur anywhere at any time. Even if you are not required to have flood insurance, serious consideration should be given to purchasing it anyway.

Business insurance may cover fire and wind damage, but virtually never covers damage from flooding...nature's most common natural disaster. Damages associated with floods can easily total $25,000 or more.... sometimes much more.

Without flood insurance, losses must be covered out of pocket. Some limited relief might be obtainable through government aid. But, government assistance is not available automatically. It is offered only when the President makes an official disaster declaration. Less than half of flooding events are "declared disasters." Declarations require rather widespread damage. Most often, when government aid is available, it comes in the form of an interest bearing loan.


New flood insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect.  Talk to your insurance agent about your coverage needs today.

National Flood Insurance Program

Because Palm Beach County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, all county businesses qualify to apply for NFIP flood insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program coordinates floodplain management and development. The program helps state, county and municipalities and agencies to develop, implement, and maintain appropriate floodplain management regulations. Administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers federally backed insurance money to communities that agree to adopt and enforce minimum standards for flood plain management to reduce future flood damage. Palm Beach County is an active participant in the NFIP. The county's codes and ordinances meet or exceed NFIP standards.



Turn Around Don't Drown®

When Flooded Turn around don't drown signEach year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other storm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in cars swept downstream. Many of these drownings are preventable. Never drive around the barriers blocking a flooded road. The road may have collapsed under that water.  A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away most cars and just 2 feet of rushing water can carry away SUVs and trucks. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.

​Know the difference between EVACUATION ZONE and FLOOD ZONE

Evacuation Zone 


Water Measure 

Click HERE for Real-Time Water Levels provided by South Florida Water

Management District


Alert PBC 2

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 Check your EVACUATION

Zone here


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Click here for Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) information

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