Study: Some Tampa neighborhoods could be under water by 2040

Hillsborough River, McKay Bay and Tampa Bay
Posted at 6:22 PM, Dec 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-27 18:22:30-05

We now have a better idea of some of the most vulnerable areas of flooding in Hillsborough County, including entire neighborhoods and parks.

Hillsborough County-City Planning commission was just required by the state to look at the most vulnerable areas of Tampa Bay.

This came after legislation passed last year requires local governments to address area's risks for flooding and one of the biggest risks is from sea rise. They expect sea levels could rise as high as 2 feet by 2040.

Some of the areas more vulnerable neighborhoods to sea-rise flooding include Tampa Bay, McKay Bay and the Tampa Bypass Canal, and the Hillsborough River.

Dennis Drummond has lived along the Hillsborough River for the past two years and is already concerned about flooding.

"How do we actually prevent that from affecting the neighborhood?" he asked.

Areas fronting Old Tampa Bay in West Tampa may also experience impacts, especially properties at the corner of South Westshore Blvd and Commerce Street; and areas to the north and south of Cypress Point Park near SR 60. This includes beaches along the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

Areas to the east of McKay Bay Nature Park following the Palm River and areas south along McKay Bay Trail to Business US41 are also at risk, according to findings. Certain areas along the Hillsborough River may experience impacts on the east and/or west side of the river, beginning at Channelside and continuing past Rowlett Park Drive to the dam.

There are also 30 at-risk neighborhood parks at risk for flooding, including:

  • Al Palonis Park
  • Alan Wright Park
  • Ballast Point Park
  • Bayshore Boulevard Linear Park
  • Blackwater Hammock Park
  • Columbus Statue Park
  • Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park
  • Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
  • Cypress Point Park
  • Davis Islands Park
  • Desoto Park
  • Epps Park
  • Gandy Park South
  • Ignacio Haya Linear Park
  • Julian B Lane Riverfront Park
  • Lowry Park
  • MacDill Park on the Riverwalk
  • McKay Bay Nature Park
  • Patterson Street Park
  • Picnic Island Park
  • Plant Park
  • River Cove Park
  • River Tower Park
  • Rivercrest Park
  • Riverside Garden Park
  • Southwest Port Tampa Park
  • Sulphur Springs Park
  • Tappan Tract Park
  • Tony Jannus Park
  • USF Park

This item will come before the Planning Commission at a Public Hearing on January 23, 2017.  City leaders will discuss several proposed changes to follow the new legislation, including further evaluating and flood-proofing coastal pumping stations, electrical stations and more infrastructure in vulnerable areas.

This includes meaning all new buildings have to be flood resistant, have flood-proofing and storm surge protection. 

That's a welcome relief to homeowners like Drummond.

"Anything that's going to be done to improve our odds has to be better," he said.