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Flooding in Independence

Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters, except fire, and are the number one weather-related killer in the United States. Types of flooding are often announced by local TV and radio stations. Flood warnings and watches should be taken very seriously.

Flash Floods

are a result of heavy, intense rainstorms dropping large amounts of rain within a brief period of time and usually occur within 6 hours of the rain event. Soil conditions, ground cover and topography can also play a role in contributing to flash flooding.


is normally a longer term event and may last several days or weeks depending upon how much rain has fallen over several days.

Urban Floods

occur when land, converted from fields or woods to roads, parking lots, or driveways, loses its ability to absorb rainfall. Runoff in urban areas is two to six times greater than on natural terrain. During urban flooding, streets can become swift-moving rivers, while basements can fill up with water.

The City of Independence encompasses 78 square miles in eastern Jackson County. It is comprised of 24 watershed areas and its borders extend north to the Missouri River. Storm water runoff makes its way to numerous creeks in the city which drain into the Missouri River. Flooding occurs principally in the Little Blue River Valley and along some portions of major creeks such as Rock Creek, Spring Branch and Adair.

Some storm water percolates into the ground in retention ponds and swales. Most shallow flooding and standing water conditions occur at times when the groundwater table is near the surface, during the raining season or following many rain events.


are the low, flat, periodically flooded lands adjacent to rivers, lakes and oceans, and are subject to land-shaping and water flow processes. For land use planning purposes, the regulatory floodplain is usually viewed as all lands within reach of a 100-year flood. Living outside a 100-year flood zone does not guarantee you will not experience flooding. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) records indicate 30 percent of its claims are outside of the 100-year flood zone. Localized flooding, even in higher elevations away from the 100-year flood zone, can occur.

Most of the known floodplains in the U.S. have been mapped by the National Flood Insurance Administration, one of the parts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Copies of all of these maps for Independence are kept by Municipal Services. They can also be accessed electronically at FEMA's Flood Map Service Center.  

The City of Independence participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), so FEMA can offer flood insurance protection to ALL residents and property owners, not just those located within the designated 100-year flood zone.

Are you at risk?

Do you know your flood risk?

To learn your risk levels go to FEMA’s Map Service Center or  or call the City’s Floodplain Administrator at 816-325-7614.