Flood Hazard Awareness
Before proceeding with retrofitting measures, or any construction and development, check with the City of Shreveport Permit Center at 673- 6100 for applicable building codes, permit requirements, and zoning restrictions.
FLOOD PROTECTION ASSISTANCE
You can get information on retrofitting from the Shreve Memorial Library. In addition to retrofitting booklets, the main library has publications on flood insurance, flood protection, and floodplain management.
The Permit Center has the names of contractors and consultants who are knowledgeable or experienced in retrofitting techniques and construction. They also have booklets describing how to select a qualified contractor and what recourse you have if you are not satisfied with the contractor’s performance.
The Office of the City Engineer will translate the FEMA-designated flood maps to determine the projected flood elevations for your property. They will also review and critique your plans for retrofitting to ensure that they offer sufficient protection against the predicted flood risks. Floods are unpleasant events. Find out what your chances of flooding are by contacting the Office of the City Engineer at 673-6000. If your property is flood prone, the City of Shreveport encourages you to protect your home or business from damage before the storm arrives.
If requested, the City Engineer’s staff will visit your property to review the cause of flooding problems and explain or recommend ways to stop flooding or reduce flood damage. Call the City of Shreveport, Department of Engineering & Environmental Services, at (318) 673-6000 for this free service. Also, you can call the Public Works Department, Streets and Drainage Division, at (318) 673-6330 if you have a flood or drainage backup problem or if debris and trash accumulate in the drainage canals and ditches.
The City Engineer’s Office will also assist by providing site specific flood related data such as floor elevation, historical flooding data for specific areas or other information to help you understand the risk of flooding for specific neighborhoods.
LOCAL FLOOD HAZARD
Those living in the flood-plain and the low-lying areas still remember the flood events of June 2015 and March 2016. Those flood events affected several Shreveport neighborhoods along the Red River and its tributaries, Cross Lake and Wallace Lake. There is always the chance that a flood event of similar or greater magnitude could fall. The best way to protect yourself is to be prepared.
As in any city, flooding in Shreveport occurs during heavy rain storms when creeks, ditches, bayous or streams leave their banks. Depending on the severity, flood waters can cover streets and yards and can flood cars, garages and lower floors. Flooding of the lowlying areas in the hilly type drainage basin in the City’s central and northern sections is a common and normal occurrence during heavy rain storms (those of high intensity and short duration.)
FLOOD WARNING SYSTEM
You will hear four terms used in a flood warning system:
- FLOOD WATCH means flooding is possible.
- FLASH FLOOD WATCH means a flash flood (which can happen very quickly) is possible.
- FLOOD WARNING means a flood is occurring or will occur within the next few hours.
- FLASH FLOOD WARNING means a flash flood is occurring and will happen very soon.
These warnings are broadcast as issued by the National Weather Service on all Comcast stations. Network television stations broadcast the warnings within minutes of their announcement. A NOAA Weather Radio with Automatic Alarm will sound an alarm when a warning is issued even it has been turned to the silent mode. The National Weather Service in Shreveport broadcasts 24 hours a day at 162.40 MHz. In addition, KWKH-AM radio is the Emergency Broadcast System link with area radio stations.
Keep alert to news bulletins reporting rapidly changing weather. Learn the best route from your home or business to higher, safer ground and stay tuned to reports of changing flood conditions.
If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe shelter, hotel, relative or friend’s home. Turn off all utilities at the main switch, BUT ONLY IF TIME PERMITS. Do not touch any electrical equipment unless it is in a dry area. Every source of electricity can be dangerous during and after flooding.
Remember, FLOODS ARE DECEPTIVE. Try to avoid flooded areas, and do not attempt to walk through floodwater that is more than knee deep. Do not attempt to drive through floodwater. TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN. If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it as soon as possible.
Drainage ditches and canals carry fast-moving floodwater and are extremely dangerous. Tell your children to stay away from ditches and canals.
The City of Shreveport strongly recommends that you purchase flood insurance. Our continuing drainage improvement program is designed to protect most properties from damage from frequent flooding events. However, those rare flooding events with recurrence intervals over 25 years will cause damage. Insurance is your protection, but most standard homeowner’s or rental policies do not cover losses from flooding. If you had to purchase flood insurance because it was required by your bank or mortgage lender, check to make sure the insurance will replace both your home and its contents.
Flood insurance is available to all homeowners whether you live in a flood zone or not. If you do not live in a flood hazard zone, the rates are lower. Talk to your insurance agent.
DRAINAGE SYSTEM MAINTENANCE
It is illegal and unwise to dump debris in streams, channels, ditches and drainage inlets. Debris can clog the channel and cause flooding or increase the damages during a flood period. Please contact the Division of Streets and Drainage at 673-6330 whenever you see debris in a ditch or someone dumping debris into a ditch. The City of Shreveport has received praise from national organizations on the cleanliness of our channels. Let’s work together to keep them that way.
There are many things you can do to an existing building to minimize or eliminate the potential for flood damage.
Sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber can be used to protect property temporarily. (Remember, sandbags should not be stacked directly against the outer walls of a building since wet bags may create added pressure on the foundation.) Permanent flood proofing measures for flood prone structures are preferable to temporary ones and include elevating the structure, building flood walls and closures, and protecting utilities.