Flood and Storm Safety

Who Should I Call to Report Storm Hazards?

Emergencies: 9-1-1
Clogged Storm Drain or Localized Flooding:   408-730-7400
Downed Trees or Tree Limbs (8 a.m. - 4 p.m.): 408-730-7506
Downed Trees or Tree Limbs (after hours): 408-730-7180

Where can I get Free Sandbags?

    Sunnyvale Corporation Yard, 221 Commercial St. (at end of California Street)
    7:30 a.m. -  4 p.m., Monday-Friday, November 1 to April 1
    10-sandbag limit (unless special circumstances)
    Residents must show a valid ID with Sunnyvale residence.
    Filled and unfilled bags are available. Bring a shovel to fill empty bags.

How Can I Find Out if my Property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area?

How Can I Prepare for Wet Weather?

  • Develop an emergency plan.
  • Put together an emergency supply kit.
  • Store drinking water in closed, clean containers (One gallon per person per day for at least three days).
  • Know how to shut-off the electricity and gas if needed.
  • Make proactive changes to protect your property: Raise electrical panels, installing sewer backflow devices.
  • Be aware of low-elevation spots that could flood.

    Additional Precautions

  • Help keep storm drains and waterways clean: report illegal dumping at 408-730-7270.
  • Sign up for Alerts from our Public Safety Department

What if My Home Floods?

During a Storm…

  • If water has entered a garage or basement, do not walk through it.
  • If you are asked to leave your property, disconnect all electrical appliances.
  • Tune to local radio and TV channels for emergency advisories and instructions.
  • Avoid downed power lines and broken gas lines.

After a Storm…

  • Do not turn gas back on yourself.  Call PG&E at 800-743-5000.
  • Avoid direct contact with floodwater.
  • Follow local instructions regarding the safety of drinking water.
  • Do no use fresh foods or canned goods that have come in contact with floodwaters.
  • Flooded buildings should be pumped out, disinfected and dried as quickly as possible to prevent mold.
  • Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas.

How Can I Sign up for Flood Insurance Discounts?

The City is an active participant in the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides an automatic 15 percent discount to properties within in special flood zones and an automatic 5 percent discount for properties outside of special flood zones.  
* For more information about the National Flood Insurance Program, call 800-427-4661

What if I Want to Build or Make Structural Improvements in a Special Flood Hazard Area?

To minimize property damage related to flooding, special considerations need to be accounted for when building or making substantial structure improvements in a Special Flood Hazard Area.

Quick Links

Mailers

Floodplain Management

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identifies and maps a community’s flood zones and special flood hazard areas.  Most of Sunnyvale is outside of the area which FEMA has designated as a 100-year flood area, and correspondingly has a less than 1 percent chance of flooding in any given year.  However, there are certain areas of the City which are designated as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA); these are considered high risk for flooding.  These SFHAs are subject to flood inundation from a 100-year flood (meaning a 1 percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year). 

The most current update to the FEMA flood insurance rate maps is dated May 18, 2009. 

To find out if your property falls within a SFHA

  • View the Sunnyvale Flood Zones Map
  • Visit the City’s One-Stop Permit counter at 456 W. Olive Avenue to view the maps
  • Call the Public Works Department at (408) 730-7415
  • Email an inquiry to: Public Works

Flood Zone Designations
Below are descriptions of the different types of flood zones that can be found within the City of Sunnyvale.

Zone Designation

FEMA definition

FEMA risk assessment

                    
Zone X

Moderate risk areas within the 0.2-percent-annual-chance floodplain, areas of 1-percent-annual-chance flooding where average depths are less than 1 foot, areas of 1-percent-annual-chance flooding where the contributing drainage area is less than 1 square mile, and areas protected from the 1-percent-annual-chance flood by a levee. No BFEs or base flood depths are shown within these zones.

Moderate risk area

Zone A

Areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event. Because detailed hydraulic analyses have not been performed, no Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) or flood depths are shown. 

High risk for flooding

Zone AE

Areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event determined by detailed methods.  BFEs are shown within these zones.

High risk for flooding

Zone AO

Areas subject to inundation by 1-percent-annual-chance shallow flooding (usually sheet flow on sloping terrain) where average depths are 1–3 feet. Average flood depths derived from detailed hydraulic analyses are shown within this zone.

High risk for flooding

Building in a SFHA
To minimize property damage related to flooding, special considerations need to be accounted for when building in a special flood hazard area.  Requirements are outlined in the City of Sunnyvale ‘s Municipal Code Section 16.62.030 “Provisions for flood hazard reduction – Standards of Construction”.

If your project is deemed to be a Substantial Improvement, you will be required to bring the entire structure up to current FEMA standards and the City’s Municipal Code section 16.62.030 (referenced above).  Substantial Improvements are defined by FEMA as: “Any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the "start of construction" of the improvement.”

The Building Division has compiled this information into the following document: Flood Zones

The Building Division keeps copies of elevation certificates that have been filed dating back to January 1998. Copies may be viewed at the City Hall One-Stop Counter at 456 W. Olive Avenue.

Living in the Flood Zone
There are many considerations to living in a flood zone, even if you are not within a SFHA. Some things you can do to protect yourself and your property are:

  • Develop an emergency plan and acquire supplies which may be needed in event of a natural disaster such as flooding, earthquake, or major water outage. Know how to shut-off the electricity and gas if needed.

    • FEMA has a free app which contains disaster safety tips, emergency kit list, and other helpful information
    • The American Red Cross also has a disaster preparedness website with a page specifically geared towards
      preparation for a flood event: Red Cross Flood Preparedness 
    • Free self-serve sandbags are available prior to forecasted rain events at the City’s Corporation Yard
      (westerly terminus of East California Avenue) or from various Santa Clara Valley Water
      District locations: Valley Water Sandbags
     
  • Every piece of litter within our drainage system contributes towards flooding. Help keep our storm drain systems and waterways clean. 
    • To participate in litter clean-up events, visit the City’s website at: Green.inSunnyvale.com 
    • To report illegal dumping, call (408) 730-7270
     
  • Make proactive changes to protect your property. Such items might be raising electrical panels or installing sewer backflow devices. Contact the City’s Building Division to inquire on permits for this type of construction.
  • Sign up for alerts from our Public Safety Department through Nixle.com
  • Purchase Flood Insurance. See section below. 
           

Flood Insurance
Flood insurance is required for all properties within a SFHA that have federally regulated mortgages. However, the purchase of flood insurance is not specifically limited to this group of property owners. Renters, commercial property owners, and properties outside the SFHA are encouraged to also purchase flood insurance.

To find an agent, visit National Flood Insurance Program Agents

Flood Insurance Facts

  • The City of Sunnyvale is an active participant in the National Flood Insurance Program. Through this program, all properties within a SFHA will receive an automatic 15 percent discount on flood insurance. Properties outside of the SFHA will receive an automatic 5 percent discount on flood insurance.
  • Properties within the SFHA have a 26 percent chance of being flooded over the life of a 30 year mortgage. Statistically speaking, properties in a SFHA have a greater chance of being damaged by flood than by fire.
  • Standard property insurance does not cover flood damage losses.
  • There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect. Proactive purchase of flood insurance is highly recommended. 
 

City of Sunnyvale

Normal City Hours of Operation are
8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

(408) 730-7500

  • Sunnyvale City Hall
  • 456 W. Olive Ave.
  • Sunnyvale, CA 94086
  • TDD (408) 730-7501
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  • City of Sunnyvale Logo
 

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