Pensacola Beach is subject to coastal storm and flooding hazards. Our recent history has included flooding from local drainage problems all the way up to storm surge flooding from tropical storms and hurricanes. In 2004, the entire island was flooded by Hurricane Ivan. Every property in Pensacola Beach is subject to flooding. Learn more about the threat and what you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property:

Escambia County‚ Florida Flood Maps Are Changing

New flood hazard maps for Escambia County are ready for public review. The preliminary maps are the result of a multi-year project to develop accurate and detailed digital flood maps for the Florida Panhandle Region, based on data from the latest mapping and modeling technologies. Click here to learn more.

2021 Flood Map Updates

The updated FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps are being released by the Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD), in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and communities throughout Escambia County. The new maps reflect current flooding risks, replacing maps that are based on outdated studies, some of which are more than 30 years old.  Revisions to these mapping products may affect residents and business owners in Escambia County.


Residents and businesses will want to be aware of how the maps are changing, and how the changes may affect new construction and rebuilding decisions, as well as requirements for flood insurance. Property owners are encouraged to visit Northwest Florida‚ Virtual Flood Risk Open House to better understand the project and changes (link below):




Northwest Florida‚ Virtual Flood Risk Open House provides information relevant to the proposed changes in flood risks in your community, as well as an opportunity to connect with floodplain management experts from your local jurisdiction, NWFWMD, and FEMA.


In-person virtual meetings are available by appointment only and can be reserved on the website, via the ‚Connect with Us‚ page of the Virtual Flood Risk Open House (link above). Appointments will be held between May 18th ‚ June 3rd, 2021. Please reserve your appointment between May 3rd‚ May 14th, 2021.


A 90-day Public Comment period will soon be open to address any submitted appeals and/or comments.  After all appeals and comments are addressed, the maps are expected to become effective in mid-2022. At that time, the new insurance requirements will take effect.


To learn more about the preliminary maps, see what areas will change, learn what the insurance options are, and find the schedule for related community meetings, visit https://portal.nwfwmdfloodmaps.com. For general information about the upcoming map changes, you can contact Juan C. Lemos, SRIA Floodplain Administrator at 850-932-2257.

Our Flood Threat

This section has more information regarding flooding in our area-

All of Pensacola Beach is subject to flooding. We are considered to be 100% in a Special Flood Hazard Area, as defined by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Where would the water go?

  • This interactive map shows what areas on the island will be underwater at different flood levels.

How deep can the water get?

  • Contact Developmental Services at 850.932.2257 for information on the depth of flooding at your property. Or stop by the Santa Rosa Island Authority administration office, 1 Via de Luna.

    How much damage would be caused?

  • The dollar damage caused by a flood can rack up pretty quickly.

What are the flood insurance flood zones?

  • The Developmental Service department can tell you the flood insurance flood zones for any site, or you can check an on-line Flood Insurance Rate Map. Enter your address and hit ‘view map’.

Is my building protected?

  • The best way to protect a building in Pensacola Beach is to elevate it above flood levels. For more information on elevating a house, see the ‘Protecting Your Property’ tab below.
  • We have FEMA Elevation Certificates on some building that were constructed or improved within the last ten years. Contact Developmental Services at 850.932.2257 for information, or stop by the Santa Rosa Island Authority administration office, 1 Via de Luna.

What about beach erosion?

  • Coastal erosion is a threat, too. We have two programs to address erosion:
  • 1) Beach nourishment, where we bring in sand to replenish what was lost.
  • 2) Coastal setback requirements to keep development out of harm’s way. Contact Developmental Services at 850.932.2257 for information on the erosion setback lines that may affect your property.

Protecting Your Property

You don’t have to be damaged by a flood. There are things you can do to prevent or minimize damage to your building and its contents and reduce the cost of your flood insurance policy. Visit moneygeek.com site for some emergency preparedness information.

There is a direct relation between the level of flooding and the cost of flood insurance in any given area. You can lower your flood insurance premiums by properly protecting your property. This PDF shows the kind of money you could save. Contact Developmental Services at 850.932.2257, we can visit your building and suggest ways to possibly reduce potential damage and flood insurance premiums. Or stop by the Santa Rosa Island Authority administration office, 1 Via de Luna. Flood protection measures are dependent on the depth of flooding and the type of foundation.

  • – Contact Developmental Services at 850.932.2257 for information on the depth of flooding at your property. Or stop by the Santa Rosa Island Authority administration office, 1 Via de Luna.
  • – Review foundation types on the University of New Orleans’ flood site and also see ‘FEMA’s Selecting Appropriate Mitigation Measures for Flood Prone Structures’ at the bottom of this page.
  • – Note that because all of Pensacola Beach is treated as a coastal high hazard area, all elevation projects must be on engineered pilings.

Is there any financial assistance for protecting a building from flooding?

  • See FEMA’s mitigation grants page for summaries of financial assistance programs.
  • If you have a flood insurance policy and you are substantially damaged by flood-waters, you can qualify for an additional claim payment to help cover the cost of elevating. This is called Increased Cost of Compliance.
  • Contact Developmental Services at 850.932.2257 for information on state and federal grants and the qualification requirements.

More references on protecting your property can be found in:

Alerts, Warnings and Evacuations

Sign-up to receive valuable information when storms are imminent and plan to plan ahead.

How will I know a flood or storm is coming?

  • You will be warned of a flood or storm by radio and TV
  • To be sure you don’t miss the warning, sign-up for emergency alerts via text message, e-mail, or a call on your cell phone through Alert Escambia.
  • Sign-up by calling 850.471.6400 or on-line atAlert Escambia

If a large storm is coming -don’t wait for it – get off the Island

Escambia County has a special needs shelter and a shelter for people with pets.

  • Special needs-know where to go and what to take if you need a place for a person with special needs.
  • Pets- don’t wait to figure it out and DON’T leave them behind. If it’s too dangerous for you, it’s too dangerous for them.

What can I expect when I return?

Construction Rules

There are construction regulations to protect you and your neighbor.

Here is some basic guidance:

  • Contact Developmental Services at 850.932.2257 before you build or improve your structure, or alter the grade of your lot.
  • Berms and other barriers that divert water onto other properties are prohibited. Play it safe and don’t move dirt or sand without a permit.
  • Call Developmental Services, 850.932.2257, if you see construction or filling without a permit. An unpermitted project may increase your exposure to wind or flood damage.

Our floodplain regulations are in the Florida Building Code. We have some special requirements that are listed on Escambia County Development Services. There are different rules for construction projects seaward of various lines that are based on a coastal erosion threat. More detailed information on floodplain construction rules are found in these references. Note, though, that Pensacola Beach has some requirements that are more restrictive than these national guidelines.

Flood Insurance

Make sure you have the right insurance coverage and you’re paying the right premium.

Talk to an insurance professional to make sure you have the right insurance coverage and you’re paying the right premium. You can find a knowledgeable agent at FloodSmart.gov. Here’s where you can find some basic information about insuring a condominium unit PDF. If you have a flood insurance policy or you own a condominium unit, check to see that you have contents coverage. Flood insurance is not getting cheaper. Look into elevating your house to lower your flood insurance premiums. See more information at ‘Protecting your property’, above on this page.

Natural Floodplain Functions

Santa Rosa Island, its beaches, and adjacent waters are not just a location for flood problems. They also perform some very valuable natural functions.

Learn more about these natural floodplain functions first hand by walking our Eco-Trail. Sand dunes help break the action of waves that would otherwise slam into buildings farther inland.

The beaches also provide nesting areas for birds, sea turtles, and other marine fauna. We do many things that affect where sea turtles nest.

  • Night-time human activity can prevent sea turtles from emerging on the beach or even cause females to stop nesting and return to the ocean.
  • Beach furniture and other recreational equipment (e.g., cabanas, umbrellas, hobie casts, canoes, small boats and beach cycles) can reduce nesting success and increase false crawls on nesting beaches.
  • Artificial lighting adversely affects their annual visits to our beaches to lay their eggs. You can get ideas for better lighting from the The Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center.

The open areas to the east of the developed area is a designated, and critical, wintering and nesting habitat for several endangered shore birds. Check VisitPensacolaBeach Eco-Trail site for more information on our feathered friends.

This website is updated periodically, information is added when deemed necessary.  The links are checked regularly [03/16/2018].