The coastal areas, the Miami River, and the many canals in the City of Miami make properties located near these areas prone to flooding. The Building Department, at 444 S.W. 2nd Avenue (305-416-1111), can assist you concerning information about Special Flood hazard areas.
Real Time Water Gauge
For real-time reporting of tide levels please use this link for the Atlantic Ocean Tide Gauge that is currently located in Virginia Key Beach: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?gage=vakf1&wfo=mfl
Recorded flood heights can be shown in stage or in elevation. Stage is measured in feet above an arbitrary starting point that was set when the gage was first installed. Elevations are in feet above sea level.
Helpful Terminology Definitions When Using the Tide Gauge:
Action Stage - the stage which; when reached by a rising stream, lake, or reservoir represents the level where the NWS or a partner/user needs to take some type of mitigation action in preparation for possible significant hydrologic activity. The appropriate action is usually defined in a weather forecast office (WFO) hydrologic services manual. Action stage can be the same as forecast issuance stage (see forecast issuance stage)
Minor flooding - minimal or no property damage, but possibly some public threat. Moderate Flooding - some inundation of structures and roads near stream. Some evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations.
Major Flooding - extensive inundation of structures and roads. Significant evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations.
The Building Department can inform you if your property is in a floodplain area. The department maintains elevation certificates for properties that have been substantially improved or constructed in the City of Miami since December 1992. We are also available to perform site visits to inform you if you are in a flood zone area, and provide information. The Plumbing Plans Examiner has the information available at 444 S.W. 2nd Avenue, 4th Floor, telephone number (305) 416-1111. For a twenty-five-dollar ($25.00) fee, the City can provide you with
the following information, in writing:
1. Community Number.
2. Panel Number and Suffix.
3. Date of the FIRM's index.
4. FIRM zone.
5. Base flood elevation.
6. Elevation data used on the FIRM.
Storm Surge Zones
Storm surge is the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. It occurs when water from the ocean is pushed on shore by the force of tropical storms or hurricanes. This is the primary reason City of Miami residents are asked to evacuate prior to a hurricane. Upon identification of a threat, each zone (or portions of a zone) will be evacuated depending on the hurricane’s track and projected storm surge, independent of the hurricane's category.
To look up you Storm Surge Planning Zone, please visit Miami-Dade County’s webpage at:
Flood Preparedness & Safety
The City of Miami provides several services to help residents and business owners with information about flood hazards.
The National Weather Service, along with the City of Miami Fire Department, Emergency Management Section, provides flood warning information to city residents. The following local radio and television stations will provide information as part of the Emergency Broadcasting System:
AM Radio & Television Stations
WIOD -610 WFOR - Ch 4
WQBA-1140 WTVJ - Ch 6
WINZ- 940 WSVN - Ch 7
WAQI-710 WLTV - Ch 23
WSRF-1580 WLTV - Ch 23
Building Department-(305) 416-1100
DERM (Dept. Of Env. Resource Management) -(305)372-6789
So. Florida Water Management-(305) 377-7274
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency-(800) 621-3362
It takes only six (6) inches of moving water to knock a person down causing injury and possibly death. In order to protect your property and human lives, the following steps should be taken:
- Have an evacuation plan.
- Have two weeks’ worth of medication, food and water.
- The elderly disabled or persons with special needs should register with Miami-Dade County's Division of Emergency Management.
- Trees should be trimmed regularly, prior to a hurricane in preparation for possible flooding.
- Doors, windows or any building openings should be secured.
- Driving through flooded areas should be avoided; power lines may be down.
- Be alert to gas leaks.
- Candles and any other type of open flames should be carefully monitored.
Homeowner insurance does not cover flood damage; a flood insurance policy is required. The following steps should be taken in regard to flood insurance:
- Check your policy to make sure that your property and personal possessions are covered under the policy.
- Photograph and list your possessions for claim purposes; store the information with your policy in a safe place.
For more information on flood protection, please visit Flood Smart.
For more information on flood insurance, please visit FEMA.
Canals and channels in our community provide an invaluable drainage feature to help carry potential floodwaters away. Grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels. A plugged channel contributes to flooding in surrounding areas and damages to plants, wildlife and water quality. Do not dump or throw anything into the bay, rivers, canals or any other body of water that helps our drainage system. Dumping is a violation of City and County Codes, punishable by fines of up to $500 per day. Illegal dumping can be reported to the City of Miami Resilience and Public Works Department, responsible for the maintenance of our waterways, or to any City NET Offices.
Permit Requirements/Protection Measures
Before you build, alter, re-grade or put fill on your property, you need to check with the Building Department. Permits are required to ensure that all of the work is properly done and to avoid further problems. Failure to obtain permits can result in an unsafe building, a fine and possible court action. While recent improvements in construction practices and regulations have made new homes less prone to flood damage, there are a significant number of existing homes that are susceptible to flood losses. These losses can be minimized through some of the temporary and permanent retrofitting techniques:
1. Construction of small flood walls,
2. Water proofing of your walls and water tightening closures of doorways
3. Raising your property above the flood level. Information on these techniques can be obtained from the Building Department.
- If you have determined that your house lies in a Flood Zone, a Flood Elevation Certificate can then tell you how high your house was built in relation to that flood zone. These certificates are required for all new construction and substantial improvements to a structure. An Elevation Certificate is an important document that every homeowner should have, and in case of a disaster, would demonstrate to City authorities that your house is at or above the required elevation.
- If the certificate shows that your house is lower, then the so-called "50% rule" would apply to your house. This rule means that if your house is in a flood zone and is damaged and/or improved to an amount greater than 50% of its market value, it will have to be raised to meet the current elevation requirement. City of Miami has been collecting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Elevation Certificate from home builders/developers since 1995 as a requirement of their building permit. Elevation certificates are also required for substantially damaged structures.For more information, call 305-416-1279 during office hours.
V-Zone Certificate(PDF, 191KB)
FEMA Nonconversion Agreement(PDF, 412KB)
Obtain your Elevation Certificate
- If the home was built before 1995 and you have never substantially improved or experienced substantial damage to the structure, you may need to hire a surveyor, or you can ask the prior owner for the Flood Elevation Certificate. If the home was built after 1995, you may be able to find your elevation certificate by using our Microfilm & Records Section.
Microfilm & Records Section
Request Building Records (Microfilm)
City of Miami Building Department
444 Southwest 2nd Avenue, 4th Floor
Miami, Florida 33130
Phone: (305) 416-1140 Fax:(305) 416-2196
Public Research and Requests: 8:00 am - 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Scheduled Appointments: 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Pickup Completed Requests: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm