Floodplain Information

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Personalized Floodplain consultations can be scheduled with your local Floodplain Administrator, Anthony Governale, at the Department of Planning and Zoning at 509 Second Street, Morgan City, La 70380 or feel free to call 985-380-4716



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The Atchafalaya River Stage at Morgan City
http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=lix&gage=mcgl1



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Stay informed of emergency conditions.
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The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

Click HERE to find out How the National Flood Program Works



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What You Need to Know About Floodplain Management

INTRODUCTION

The City of Morgan City is dedicated to minimizing the loss of life and property that is associated with flooding events. Education and prevention are valuable and proven tools that help communities become resistant to these natural disasters. The City of Morgan City recognizes that its entire community is susceptible to flooding, not just those structures located within Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA’s). The following information has been provided to help inform property owners located within the SFHA, flood prone areas and also all property owners within the City of Morgan City.

FLOOD HAZARD

The City of Morgan City is located in the eastern portion of St. Mary Parish approximately 20 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The area consists mainly of low coastal marshes with ridges of higher alluvial land along the rivers and bayous. Morgan City is situated along the east bank of the Atchafalaya River at the intersection of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Lake Palourde lies to the north and east of the city. The Atchafalaya River, the Gulf Intracostal Waterway and other watercourses in the area have made Morgan City attractive to the fishing, construction, transportation and petroleum industries. Although ponding of runoff produced by rainstorms and hurricanes causes significant flooding in Morgan City, the most severe flooding in the major part of the City has been caused from the Atchafalaya River, a tributary of the Mississippi River. Major floods of the Mississippi River and its tributaries occurred in 1927, 1937, 1945, 1950, 1973, 1974, and 1975. The flood of 1927 was the most disastrous in the recent recorded geological history of the lower Mississippi River Valley. A significant portion of land adjacent to the Atchafalaya River was inundated by the floodwaters of 1927. Flooding extended continuously from the Teche Ridge (west of Morgan City) to Lafourche Ridge (east of Morgan City). The flood of 1927 had an estimated recurrence interval of 50 years. The flood of 1973, which had an estimated recurrence interval of 40 years, was the largest flood on the Mississippi River since 1927. The maximum stage of the Atchafalaya River at Morgan City during the 1973 flood was 10.5 feet, or 2.5 feet below the top of the floodwall. During the 1973 flood, heavy losses were experienced by industries located on the Atchafalaya River side of the levee in Morgan City.

FLOOD SAFETY

1. Learn the safest route from your home or business to higher, safer ground, but stay tuned to reports of changing flood conditions.

2. If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe shelter, hotel or relative’s house.

3. Turn off all utilities, gas and electricity at the main switch. Stay away from power lines and electrical lines. Be alert for gas leaks.

4. Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood related deaths. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.

5. Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than in any other location. Vehicles also push water into homes and cause additional property damage.

FLOOD INSURANCE

The purchase federal flood insurance is highly recommended. Basic homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover damage from floods. The City of Morgan City participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which means that federally subsidized flood insurance is available to everyone in the City. Remember there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective. Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank or loan company when they obtained a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building’s structure and not the contents. During the kind of flooding that happens in the City of Morgan City, there is usually more damage to furniture and the contents than there is to the structure. Remember that a flood insurance policy must be renewed each year. Mandatory Purchase Requirement: The mandatory purchase requirement applies to all forms of federal or federally related financial assistance for buildings located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). This requirement affects loans and grants for the purchase, construction, repair, or improvement of any publicly or privately owned buildings in the SFHA, including machinery, equipment, fixtures and furnishings contained in such buildings. If a building is located in a SFHA, the agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building.

For more information about flood insurance contact:
www.cityofmc.com
www.fema.gov/nfip
● The Morgan City Public Library.
● Contact your insurance agent.
● Contact the Morgan City Planning and Zoning Department.

PROPERTY PROTECTION

Rather than wait for a flood to occur, you can act now to protect your property from flood damage. Various alternatives are available to help minimize flooding. If the floor level of your property or structure is lower than the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) located on the City’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), consider ways to prevent flooding from occurring such as retrofitting your building. “Retrofitting” means altering your building to eliminate or reduce flood damage.

Retrofitting measures include:
● Elevating the building so that flood waters do not enter or reach any damageable portions of it,
● Constructing barriers out of fill or concrete between the building and flood waters,
● “Dry floodproofing” to make the building walls and floor watertight so water does not enter,
● “Wet floodproofing” to modify the structure and relocate the contents so that when flood waters enter the building there is little or no damage, and
● Preventing basement flooding from sewer backup or sump pump failure.

There are several good references on retrofitting in the Morgan City Public Library. Many of these will inform you about retrofitting techniques and help you decide which is best for you.

NATURAL AND BENEFICIAL FUNCTIONS

The City of Morgan City is a beautiful place to live. The undisturbed marshes and wetlands provide a wide range of benefits to the human and natural systems. They provide flood storage and conveyance, reduce flood velocities and flood peaks. Water quality is improved through the marshes and wetlands ability to filter nutrients and impurities from runoff and process organic wastes. The local marshes and wetlands provide breeding and feeding grounds for fish and wildlife, create and enhance waterfowl habitat, and protect habitats for rare and endangered species. The floodplains are an important asset. They provide open space, aesthetic pleasure, and areas for active and passive uses.

FLOOD WARNING SYSTEM

If flooding is imminent and evacuation of the City is advised, the City of Morgan City will notify you through local radio and Cable TV. Additionally, the City will be receiving information from NOAA Weather Station Radio broadcasts weather information at 162.550 MHZ 24 hours a day and from the National Weather Service Offices in Louisiana The local contact number is (985) 385-1770 or the City of Morgan City’s Planning and Zoning Office at (985) 380-4724. Please call in reference to evacuation notices, procedures and shelters.

FLOODPLAIN DEVELOPMENT PERMIT REQUIREMENTS

All development in the City of Morgan City needs local and state permits. Contact the City of Morgan City’s Office of Planning Zoning at (985) 385-1770 or (985) 380-4724 for advice before you build, fill, place a manufactured home or otherwise develop. The zoning ordinance, flood control ordinance and the International Building Codes have special provisions regulating construction and other developments within floodplains. Without these provisions, flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) would not be available to property owners in the City of Morgan City. Any development in the floodplain without a permit is illegal; such activity can be reported to the Director of Planning and Zoning at (985) 380-4724.

SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT REQUIREMENTS

What is substantial improvement? The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires that any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the start of construction of the improvement, must conform or meet the same construction requirements as a new building and be constructed above the minimum Base Flood Elevation (BFE) listed on the City of Morgan City’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). What is substantial damage? Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a building or structure when the cost of restoring the building to its pre-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the building before the damage occurred. Substantial damage is determined regardless of the actual repair work performed. The City of Morgan City requires by ordinance that any substantial improvement or substantial damage improvement must have a building permit. Permit information can be obtained at the Planning and Zoning Department located at City Hall or by calling at (985) 380-4724.

DRAINAGE SYSTEM MAINTENANCE

It is illegal in the City of Morgan City to dump any type of debris into a canal, stream, river or drainage ditch. This debris can become entangled in culverts and shallow streambeds, canals or drainage ditches and impede drainage causing the flow of water to back up. Citizens of Morgan City should also keep drainage ditches on their property free of debris, foliage and vegetation that would impede the flow of water. Debris dumping should be reported to the City of Morgan City’s Public Works Department or the Planning and Zoning Department at City Hall by calling (985) 385-1770 or 380-4724.

FLOOD INFORMATION

Citizens of the City of Morgan City can obtain flood information concerning flooding, flood maps, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements, flood insurance requirements and inquiries, and flood zone determinations from the City of Morgan City’s Planning and Zoning Office located at City Hall, or by calling (985) 380-4724. Elevation Certificates of all properties in the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA’s) are available and on file at the Office of Planning and Zoning and copies are available upon request. Real time river gauge information can obtained through the following websites: www.la.water.usgs.gov/hydrowatch.htm or through www.usgs.gov.

FLOOD PROTECTION ASSISTANCE

Concerned citizens and the general public can obtain information on flood protection assistance from the City of Morgan City’s Office of Planning and Zoning or the Department of Public Works by calling (985) 385-1770 or (985) 380-4724. Flood protection assistance provided by the City of Morgan City is site-specific flood and flood related data, data on historical flooding in the neighborhood and similar information so inquirers can relate the flood threat to their problems.

List of Services Provided:
● Provide a list of names of contractors and consultants knowledgeable or experienced in retrofitting techniques and construction.
● Provide materials on how to select a qualified contractor’s and what recourse citizens have if they are dissatisfied with the contractor’s performance.
● Make site visits to review flooding, drainage and sewer problems and provide one-on-one advice to property owners.
● Provide advice and assistance on retrofitting techniques, such as, elevating buildings above flood levels or the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), dry floodproofing, wet floodproofing and protecting basements from sewer backup. Also, information on the installation of barriers, levees, berms and floodwalls around individual buildings or structures is available.



IMPORTANT USEFUL WEBSITES
www.fema.gov
www.usgs.gov
www.noaa.gov
www.la.water.usgs.gov/hydrowatch.htm
www.nws.noaa.gov
www.floods.org
www.weather.gov
www.lfma.org