Helpful Information

Flooding in Cleveland is mainly caused by large amounts of rainfall over short periods of time and overtaxing drainage systems. The main drainage systems affecting Cleveland are the Jones Bayou drainage system, the Pecan Bayou drainage system, the Lead Bayou drainage system, and the Bear Pen Canal drainage system. The majority of populated residential area is concentrated around the Jones Bayou drainage system, and contains the largest mapped floodplain area in Cleveland.

Direct Causes

Most direct causes of flooding are attributed to flash flooding on city streets and around storm drains due to the flat topography of the area. Flooding can cover many blocks at times over one foot in depth. The most common flood damage reported has been to parked vehicles in city streets and minor residential and commercial damage such as flooring, baseboards, and sheetrock. During torrential rainstorms, flash flooding can occur with little or no warning.

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)

Tools such as the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and other pertinent documents can help determine if you live in or near a mapped special flood hazard area. Also other tools such as the Floodplain Management Plan outline problems areas and identify projects to alleviate issues associated with flooding and the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance (PDF) outlines regulations for floodplain development.

Repetitive Loss Properties

In the United States, there are over 115,000 repetitive loss properties. Although some of these properties have had mitigation measures applied to them, most remain at risk of flooding. A repetitive loss property is one for which two or more flood insurance claims of more than $1,000 have been paid by the NFIP within any 10-year period since 1978. Repetitive loss properties represent only 1% of all NFIP’s insurance policies nationwide, but they have accounted for nearly one-third of the claim payments.


Each year Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) produces a list of repetitive loss properties for communities in or interested in the CRS program. Even though there are only six repetitive loss properties in Cleveland, officials have designated seven repetitive loss areas as areas that pose the greatest risk for potential repetitive losses. More information can be obtained from the Department of Community Development at 662-843-4601.