Flood Protection Information
The City of Odessa is dedicated to minimizing the loss of life and property due to flooding. Generally, flooding is caused by storms characterized by heavy rainfall from frontal-type storms. Major flooding can be produced by these localized thunderstorms, which may occur at any time during the year but are more prevalent in the spring and summer months. Significant flooding occurred in 1936, 1959, 1978, 1979 and 1986. In September 2004 flash flooding in the City of Odessa caused the closure of many of the city’s roads. And a significant flood even occurred in May 2007 that damaged homes and closed roads throughout the county.
The primary drainage system for the City of Odessa includes the Westside Channel, the Eastside Channel, the Far East Channel, the Far East Side Channel, Monahans Draw and Muskingum Draw. Additionally, multiple low lying areas known as playa lakes or buffalo wallows exist within the community. Properties located in or near these areas are at a higher probability of flooding. However, any property is at risk of flooding by greater than predicted storms or local drainage problems.
Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there.
Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their own cars than anywhere else. Don’t drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.
Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to the Power Company or City emergency management office.
Have your electricity turned off by the Power Company. Some appliances, such as television sets, keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned and dried.
Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to pole and turn things over and scare away small animals.
Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered in mud can be very slippery.
Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
Stay Informed. Listen to a weather radio or tune into your local television and radio station’s emergency broadcast systems to learn about potential severe weather hazards.
Flood Warning System
Weather forecasts and warnings for the Odessa area are available at the following website:
You can obtain additional information about evacuation, shelters and emergency procedures by calling 911, the Fire Department at (432) 257-0502 or the Police Department at (432) 333-3641.
Flood InsuranceIf you don’t have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. However, because the City of Odessa participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy. Additionally, the City of Odessa participates in the Community Rating System (CRS) and has received a rating of 8 allowing citizens of our community to appreciate a ten percent (10%) discount from the applicable premium. This insurance is backed by the Federal government and is available to everyone, even for properties that have been flooded.
Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank when they got a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building’s structure and not the contents. Additional coverage for contents is available through the NFIP.
At last count there were approximately 1,000 flood insurance policies in Odessa. If you are covered, double-check that the building coverage is adequate and if you have contents coverage. Flood insurance covers all surface floods.
Don't wait for the next flood to buy insurance protection. There is a 30-day waiting period before the National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect. Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage. Should you want more information or if you need an agent visit www.floodsmart.gov.
Property Protection Measures
There are several different ways to protect a building from flood damage. One way is to keep the water away by regrading your lot or building a small floodwall or earthen berm. These methods work if your lot is large enough, if flooding is not too deep, and if your property is not in the floodway.
Another approach is to make your walls waterproof and place watertight closures over the doorways. This method is not recommended for houses with basements of if water will get over two feet deep.
Additionally, it is possible to raise the house above flood levels. A small wood frame house can be elevated for less than $10,000.
These measures are called floodproofing or retrofitting. More information is available at the Ector County Library or FEMA's Floodproofing page. Important note: Any alteration to your building or land requires a permit. Even regrading or filling in the floodplain requires a permit.
What you can do: Several of the City’s efforts depend on your cooperation and assistance. Here is how you can help:
- Do not dump or throw anything into the ditches or streams. Dumping in our ditches and streams is a violation of the City of Odessa Ordinance 2009-42. Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels. A plugged channel cannot carry water and when it rains the water has to go somewhere. Every piece of trash contributes to flooding.
- If your property is next to a ditch or stream, please do your part and keep the banks clear of brush and debris. The City has a drainage maintenance program which can help remove major blockages such as downed trees.
- If you see dumping or debris in ditches or streams, contact the Public Works Department at (432) 335-3242.
- Contact the City of Odessa Engineering Department at (432) 335-3242 for any questions you may have regarding the flood zone.
Floodplain Development Permit Requirements
The City of Odessa requires a flood development permit for any construction, alteration, regarding or fill within the floodplain. New construction and substantial improvements or repairs to substantially damaged structures requires a finished floor elevation to be no lower than one foot above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Substantial improvement or substantial damage is any improvement or repair totaling 50% or more of the value of the structure or an increase in 50% of area, whichever is lower. Additionally, new construction and substantial improvements or repairs will require an elevation certificate once the construction is complete. Floodplain development permits can be obtained at the City of Odessa Engineering Department, 411 W. 8th St, Odessa, TX, (432) 335-3242.
If you know of construction, filling or excavation that is taking place without a City Permit, please report the activity to the City's Building Inspection Department at (432) 335-3215. If you know of any action that is affecting the City's drainage systems and is being done without a permit, please contact the City Engineering Department at (432) 335-3242.
Natural and Beneficial Functions
Local and regional floodplains play a valuable role in providing natural and beneficial functions that benefit both human and natural systems. These include aesthetic as well as active processes such as filtering nutrients. Floodplains include areas for waterfowl, fish and other wildlife habitats in addition to feeding and breeding grounds. When flooding spreads out across the floodplain, its energy is dissipated, which results in lower flows downstream, reduced erosion of the stream bank and channel, and deposition of sediments higher in the watershed. Poorly planned development in the floodplain can lead to stream bank erosion, loss of valuable property, increased risk of flooding to downstream properties and degradation of water quality.
Map Information Service
The City of Odessa Engineering Department provides many services including flood zone determinations and flood zone determination letters, copies of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and answers questions related to local floodplain management requirements.
411 W 8th Street
Odessa, TX 79761
Phone: (432) 335-3242