Safety Harbor Marina during Tropical Storm Colin on June 6, 2016. (Photo/Jarine Dotson)

‘Tis the Season– for flood zone changes

in city hall/news

Conversations about sustainability include global warming and rising sea levels. These add another dimension to Florida’s hurricane season. Temperatures around the globe are getting warmer, ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising and land mass will diminish as a result. Florida – the peninusla-on-a-peninsula of Pinellas County in particular – is population-dense. Planning for storms is imperative. We are aware of the risk of catastrophic storms and the potential impact of sea rise and flooding. NOAA’s 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook will be announced on May 23. As a coastal community, summer brings additional seasonal preparations to Safety Harbor.

Flood zone changes may impact insurance needs

During the April 15, 2019 City Commission meeting, City Manager Matt Spoor reviewed Safety Harbor’s participation in the Federal Emergency Management Association’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and pending updates to Flood Insurance Rate Maps {FIRM}. The Commission approved the Interlocal Agreement with Pinellas County in regard to preliminary floodplain maps. Commissioner Zodrow noted that changes in the Flood Insurance Rate Maps could impact resident’s insurance costs. Residents were urged to check for any changes in their flood zone and to check policies for any potential advantage in making changes now.

FEMA has completed a review of flood zone maps and residents can find more information on Pinellas County’s website. Important for Safety Harbor residents to note: “These new maps are based on revised coastal flood modeling and may affect owners of properties susceptible to flooding from the Gulf, Tampa Bay, and inland areas near waterways connected to the Gulf or Bay.” Residents should check for potential zone changes and check their insurance coverage.

Tax holiday

Hurricane season begins June 1 and Pinellas County’s schools will break for summer just in time for the statewide “disaster preparedness” sales tax holiday from May 31 to June 6, 2019. Florida residents will be able to make tax-free purchases of:

  • flashlights and lanterns costing $20 or less
  • radios and tarps costing $50 or less
  • coolers and batteries costing $30 or less
  • generators costing $750 or less

Sea level rise

Climate Central’s map shows projections of what could happen over time as a result of increasing sea levels. Use the interactive slider to see the impact of up to ten feet of encroaching water. The map serves as a reminder of the need to implement changes that will slow the impact of sea level rise on our communities.


map courtesy of Climate Central: climatecentral.org

Another map to keep on hand

While prepping for the upcoming season, it’s a good idea to know the Pinellas County Shelter locations.

Who’s coming?

Everyone wants to know what to expect. One thing is certain– NOAA’s names for the 2019 storms. This year, we hope to avoid: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Imelda, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.

Tanja Vidovic, mother to three girls, is an artist, bicyclist, environmentalist, community activist and a City of Tampa paramedic. Tanja manages a 9000-member garden group. She has planted seven community orchards in Tampa Bay, including the Folly Farms Community Orchard. Tanja co-hosts Sustainable Living on WMNF 88.5 radio. Catch her there every other Monday- or through the Sustainable Safety HarborFacebook group.