Thank you for visiting our City of Slidell’s online emergency management information center. This section is designed to provide vital and timely information to help you protect your life and property. Information will be updated on a regular basis.
Click on the links below for online resources, and view the city’s annual storm and flood preparedness outreach. You should also monitor local radio and TV for real-time weather updates. You can see links to the National Weather Service radar sites along the entire Gulf of Mexico coastline by clicking on the Radar link below. I also encourage you to heed the advice given and take no chances with your personal safety.
Freddy D. Drennan
Things You Should Know About...
FLOOD INSURANCE — NFIP & CRS
In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to provide affordable flood insurance to people who live in areas with the greatest risk of flooding called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). The NFIP makes federally backed flood insurance available in communities that agree to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood damage. This is important since property owners who hold a federally backed mortgage must purchase flood insurance if the property is located within a SFHA.
The Community Rating System (CRS) is a program developed by the Federal Insurance Administration to provide incentive for NFIP communities that implement more stringent floodplain standards than the minimum NFIP requirements. The CRS rewards these efforts with discounts on flood insurance premiums. The City of Slidell currently holds a Class 8 CRS rating. This classification equates to a 10% discount on new or renewing flood insurance policies for all SFHA properties and a 5% discount to non-SFHA properties.
Since flooding is the most common natural disaster, it is important that you obtain the maximum protection. You can purchase flood insurance irrespective of where you reside in high, moderate, or low risk areas, and there is no exclusion as to what type of ownership you represent (i.e. homeowner, renter, or business owner). The following information and tips may be of interest to you. Please refer to this fact sheet in the event of an impending hurricane, tropical storm or notification of projected heavy rainfall. During extended periods of heavy rainfall, low lying areas within the City are subject to flooding. This information is offered to help protect your property and reduce potential losses due to flooding.
FLOOD HAZARD — Floods Fact Sheet
The primary sources of riverine flooding for Slidell starts with Lake Pontchartrain, Palm Lake and Fritchie Marsh. Water then enters Bayou Bonfouca & Bayou Vincent (W-13 Main), Bayou Liberty, Bayou Pattasat, Diversion Canal (W-14), The French Canal (W-15), Schneider Canal, and the West Pearl River. Many small streams and tributaries, both in and out of Slidell feed into these Bayous and Canals. Small stand alone lakes also have the ability to rise and flood surrounding areas. Flooding from periods of heavy rainfall can occur frequently.
Other flood hazards to Slidell include Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, along with rising tides. Strong storms can move in from the Gulf of Mexico with strong winds and heavy rain that can quickly create flooding conditions. Waters can back up into bayous and canals, as well as the many streams feeding these waterways.
Your property may be elevated high enough that you have not experienced flooding. But be aware, this can change in the future. Not all storms are the same. For instance, the May 1995 flood and Hurricane Katrina both flooded areas that have never been flooded before.
FLOOD MAPS AND INFORMATION
The City of Slidell Engineering Department can help you determine if your property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area, inform you of your flood zone and Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE), and also provide you with more flood hazard information. Copies of Elevation Certificates from 2005—present can be obtained at 250 Bouscaren Street, Ste. 302. These certificates are required when construction is done in a flood hazard area. The Flood Insurance Rate Maps are available to view at the Engineering Department as well. You can contact Engineering at (985) 646-4270. Flood maps and flood protection references are also available for viewing at the Public Library in Slidell located at 555 Robert Boulevard. The FEMA website is another good source of information on the National Flood Insurance Program. Visit: http://www.fema.gov
FLOOD WARNING SYSTEM
St. Tammany Parish has an automated emergency warning system for all man-made or natural disasters including flood warnings. In the event of an emergency the St. Tammany Parish Emergency Hotline is activated. You may contact the emergency hotline at (866) 898-2323 or local at (985) 898-2323 for any flood updates. The National Weather Service issues flood advisories six (6) hours prior to expected heavy rainfall that can potentially cause flooding conditions. In the event of flood hazards, tune into local Radio (WWL 870 AM & WOPR 94.7 FM) and TV (Channel 10 & WWL) Stations for information. Also, a NOAA weather radio will provide this information. In large or severe events, Emergency Officials sometimes go into the potentially affected areas to inform the residents of any danger.
· Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there.
· Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.
· Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the Power Company or City emergency management office.
· Have your electricity turned off by the Power Company. Some appliances, such as television sets, keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, and dried.
· Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over and scare away small animals.
· Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
· Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
IF YOU MUST EVACUATE
· If you are required to evacuate, try to move to the house of a friend or family member not affected by the
impending flood hazard.
· If you live in a mobile home, or are electrically dependant, plan to evacuate at the first notice of the emergency conditions.
· Rehearse your evacuation plan with all household members. Plan to leave early to avoid traffic delays.
· Register with St. Tammany Parish Government’s Special Needs Shelter by downloading the form from http://www.stpgov.org/pdf/1275061336.pdf and mailing it to: 510 East Boston Street, Covington, LA 70433.
· Seniors can register with St. Tammany by downloading the Senior Evacuation Notification System (SENS) form from http://www.stpgov.org/pdf/1243876274.pdf and mailing it to: Social Services Administration Liaison, Attn: SENS, PO Box 628, Covington, LA 70434; fax it to (985) 898-3030; or submit online at www.stsalt.org/downloads.
· Discuss these tips with your neighbors and friends. Try to have a prearranged plan designating how you can contact your neighbors. If you have to evacuate, inform each other of places where you will be staying and leave contact phone numbers and addresses.
Most mortgage lenders and home improvement loans require flood insurance based on the elevation of the property. In the event that your mortgage does not have this provision or if you own your property free and clear, you can purchase this insurance at any time. Renters may also purchase flood insurance for their contents at the property they are renting. Remember there is a 30-day waiting period before the policy becomes effective. Homeowner’s insurance and/or Windstorm insurance does not cover flood damage to the structure.
Since the City of Slidell is an NFIP community, federally backed flood insurance is available. You are eligible for flood insurance, regardless of whether your property has never flooded or has flooded several times in the past. All properties secured by a federally backed mortgage (FHA, VA, FNMA, etc.) in the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA's) must carry flood insurance according to the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994. Private flood insurance may be available. Please contact your insurance agent for more information about flood insurance.
If you have flood insurance, double-check that the building coverage is adequate and make sure you have contents coverage. Remember: Even if the last flood missed you or you have done some flood-proofing, the next flood could be worse. Flood insurance covers all surface floods.
PROPERTY PROTECTION MEASURES
Every year, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other type of natural disaster. While recent construction practices and regulations have made new homes less prone to flooding, many existing structures remain susceptible. Throughout the country there is a growing interest from property owners to develop practical and cost effective methods for reducing or eliminating exposure to flooding.
Retrofitting is a unique approach to reduce flooding because the property itself remains subject to flooding while the building is modified to prevent or minimize flooding of the habitable space.
There are several recognizable approaches to retrofitting:
(1) Elevation of the structure above the base flood elevation.
(2) Construction of barriers (floodwalls, berms, etc.).
(3) Dry flood proofing (water tight floor and wall systems).
(4) Wet flood proofing (constructing the flood prone areas so as to permit the entry and passage of flood water and removing or relocating items of value to higher elevation levels).
In the event of pending flood threats, it is always advisable to take the following emergency actions:
(1) Sand bagging to reduce erosion and scouring.
(2) Elevate furniture and valuables above flood protection levels.
(3) Create floodway openings in non-habitable areas such as garages.
(4) Seal off sewer lines to the dwelling to prevent the backflow of sewer waters.
(5) Shut off gas and electricity.
NATURAL AND BENEFICIAL FUNCTIONS
In their undisturbed and natural state, wetlands provide many beneficial functions and resources, including floodplain management, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. Wetlands also serve as a natural filter that maintains water quality for lakes, streams, rivers, bays and bayous. A wetland is like a buffer between the upland area and a surface body of water like Lake Pontchartrain. Storm water runoff from the upland areas picks up dust, dirt and other contaminants which the wetlands filter out. This helps to keep the water in the Lake cleaner. The wetlands are a natural place to flood and the vegetation that grows in them help to store and slow down flood waters. By limiting development in wetlands, flood waters have a natural place to go without threatening development. The City has been working toward the preservation and restoration of the wetlands system to protect these functions and resources well into the future.
The City is in the process of doing a Master Storm Water Plan to provide a guideline to improve the flooding problems within the City limits. The City does have a MS4 Permit and a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan for the treatment plant. A Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan is required for all property that is one acre and up. The City regulates storm water discharge for all commercial properties and requires commercial developments to reduce discharge by 10% of the pre-development discharge. The implementation of these regulations will help reduce flood peaks and duration, provide additional flood storage when needed, and improve and maintain surface and ground water quality. This plan will have environmental benefits by restoring and enhancing wildlife habitat, and maintaining the diversity and integrity of this unique wetland environment.
FLOODPLAIN DEVELOPMENT PERMITS
All development (not just construction) within the floodplain of Slidell requires permits. Extra requirements are involved when developing in the floodplain. Before you alter (fill, grade, clear, etc.) your property, build a building, or otherwise develop your property; contact the City of Slidell Building & Safety Department at (985) 646-4323 and the Engineering Department at (985) 646-4270.
If you suspect any unauthorized development within the floodplain or see building or filling without a City permit sign posted, please contact the Code Enforcement Department at (985) 646-4199.
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENTS / DAMAGE REQUIREMENTS
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires that if the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the building’s market value, then the building must meet the same construction requirement as a new building. Substantially damaged buildings must also be brought up to the same standards (e.g., a residence damaged so that the cost of repairs equals or exceeds 50% of the building’s value before it was damaged must be elevated one-foot above the base flood elevation).
In Slidell, if your home in within a Special Flood Hazard Area (flood zone) you must elevate your home if you exceed this 50% rule. Therefore, if an addition to your home is more than 50% of the market value, the entire structure must be elevated above the base flood elevation. Permits will be required for construction which will ensure compliance with this rule. Contact Building & Safety at (985) 646-4323 if you have any questions about substantial improvements/damage requirements.
DRAINAGE SYSTEM MAINTENANCE
Proper drainage helps to reduce the risk of flooding. Slidell inspects and maintains public drainage facilities. A blockage in a storm sewer system can cause flooding. Help to do your part by keeping storm drains and ditches free from debris. Do not dump or throw anything into the ditches or streams. Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels. A plugged channel cannot carry water and when it rains the water has to go somewhere. Every piece of trash contributes to flooding. If your property is next to a ditch or stream, please do your part and keep the banks clear of brush and debris.
If you experience a problem with a drainage facility or see dumping, quickly report it to the City of Slidell Public Works Department at (985) 643-6140.
FLOOD PROTECTION ASSISTANCE
The following is a list of flood protection assistance that is offered by the City of Slidell:
· Technical advice to property owners.
· Site specific flood and flood related data.
· Names of contractors and consultants and how to select a qualified contractor.
· Site visits to review drainage and flood problems.
· Retrofitting techniques.
You may receive flood protection assistance from the following departments: Engineering, Planning and Building & Safety. Each department is staffed with a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM). The CFM can answer your flood questions and conduct site visits to assist with any flood protection information needed by a property owner. You may reach Building & Safety at (985) 646-4324; Engineering at (985) 646-4270 and Planning at (985) 646-4320.
Special points of interest:
· Building & Safety: (985) 646-4323
· Engineering: (985) 646-4270
· Planning: (985) 646-4320
· Public Operations—Complaints / Work Orders: (985) 643-6140
· Public Works: (985) 646-4258
On October 1, 2009, there were important changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The following were increased: rates, the standard deductibles, and the basic insurance limits. These combined changes resulted in an average premium increase of 8%. The increases applied only to policies that are written or renewed after 10/1/09.
(A Hurricane Watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24-36 hours.)
(A Hurricane Warning is issued when hurricane conditions – winds of 74 mph or greater, or dangerously high water and rough seas – are expected in 24 hours or less.)