TAMPA, Fla. — As we see the flooding effects of Hurricane Sally along the Gulf Coast, it's a good time to check your property's risk of flooding.
A new tool created by nonprofit technology organization First Street Foundation combines factors like environmental changes, FEMA flood zone information and property history to calculate a property's flooding risk.
"In general, there's a lot of interest in flooding in Florida and hot spots in Florida," Dr. Jeremy Porter head of research and development at the First Street Foundation said. "In Florida, we found about 1.8 million properties are at risk which is 100,000 more than what FEMA found."
The website says in Florida there are 2.6 million properties at risk of flooding today with 23 percent of all properties having a major to extreme risk. On Florida's west coast, there are three cities with the highest flooding risk.
"Cape Coral came in with about 90,000 properties at risk, Tampa came in next with 43,000 and Lehigh Acres had about 26,000 properties at risk," Dr. Porter said.
The website is extremely user friendly and designed specifically for home owners. You simply pull up FloodFactor.com, enter your address and it pulls up your flooding risk. It also breaks it down on a simple scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest flooding risk, which is also indicated by the color dark red on the maps they use. You can also see what flooding will look like in the future with an estimate of 15 years and 30 years from now.
"It's built for property owners. This data does exist for banks and mortgage companies but individual property owners didn't have access to this kind of data and the little information they do from FEMA oftentimes is not up-to-date," Dr. Porter said.
The data also shows you the history of flooding in that area, environmental risks and provides solutions. The creators hope this knowledge will help inspire people to think of positive environmental change and solutions with their local governments moving forward.
"Flood risk is the most obvious symptom of environment change. We know the federal government uses a lot of money to alleviate those issues," Dr. Porter said.
FloodFactor.com has analyzed more than 142 million properties across the nation. To see your home's flooding risk click here.