ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. It doesn't take much to flood the Shore Acres neighborhood in St. Petersburg, The area is known to flood even after a quick afternoon storm.

Now, we're learning through a study done by the city that one small part of the area is responsible for hundreds of flood insurance claims, totaling millions of dollars.

The idea of the study is to get these flood-prone areas under control so the high number of flood claims don't affect the price we pay for insurance.

The Repetitive Loss Area Analysis looked at about 1,500 properties in Shore Acres. Of those, 241 have made close to 400 flood insurance claims since 1978 totaling almost $14 million.

In February 2018, the City of St. Petersburg Community Rating System Coordinator sent out a letter the homeowners introducing them to the project and asking for feedback.

FEMA had recommended the city conduct the study, which also looked at Riviera Bay, another area known to have flooding issues.

They looked at 370 properties there and found just 40 of them account for $1.7 million in flood insurance claims.

Mike Salberg has lived in Shore Acres for 25 years. So, he sees flooding often.

He blames debris blocking storm drains for the flooding but blames people creating wakes in the roads when they drive by for water getting into his house.

“When they designed Shore Acres, I don't think they made the land high enough,” says Salberg.

That’s why he’s happy something is finally being done to stop the flooding problems.

Recommendations on how to stop flooding in Shore Acres include:

  • Acquisition -- This involves buying out individual, “worst case,” structures with FEMA funds. The city said in the study they aren’t considering acquisitions at this time.
  • Elevation -- Elevating the houses above the 1 percent annual flood level. The city explains by raising the structure above the flood level is generally viewed as the best flood protection measure, short of removing the building from the floodplain.
  • Dry Floodproofing -- This measure keeps floodwaters out of a building by modifying the structure. Walls are coated with waterproofing compounds or plastic sheeting, which makes them watertight.
  • Utility Protection -- This measure applies to several different utilities that can be adversely affected by floodwaters such as:
    • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems
    • Fuel meters and pipes
    • Electrical service boxes, wiring and fixtures
    • Sewage systems
    • Drinking water systems

Damage to utilities can prevent a residence that remains structurally sound after a flood from being reoccupied. Retrofitting utilities includes things as simple as raising them above the flood level and building small walls around furnaces and water heaters to protect from shallow flooding.

  • Drainage improvements

The Engineering and Stormwater Department prepared a master drainage plan for all of St. Petersburg.

There are several different drainage improvements called for in the plan. These projects helped to reduce some of the flooding within the Shore Acres Repetitive Loss area.

To view the full study, along with the recommendations to improve Riviera Bay, click here.

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