May is Flood Awareness Month! For nearly four decades the City of Tulsa has made great progress in reducing the flood risk of citizens through various flood risk reduction programs. Although it has been years since a flood has claimed lives in Tulsa, the dangers of another major flood event should not be ignored.
Tulsa’s Flood Risk--Many citizens along the Arkansas River and tributary streams are at heightened risk for flood events because of low-lying geography and the extent of the floodplains. Survivors of the 1984 and 1986 floods will remember that floodwaters from the Arkansas River covered huge swaths of normally dry areas. One of the highest risk flood events, a breach or failure of the Keystone Dam, could cause widespread flooding in Tulsa along the Arkansas River. If you live in these or other flood-prone areas, your family should have a flood preparedness plan, including a disaster kit and somewhere to go and preplan your evacuation route in advance of a flood event. To read more about Tulsa’s costly and deadly flood history, go to https://www.cityoftulsa.org/city-services/flood-control/flooding-history.aspx
Levees—Many Tulsans do not know about the levee system surrounding the West Tulsa community in the Eugene Field area south of the river, the Charles Page area north of the Arkansas River, and the Sand Springs. While these levees offer some flood risk reduction these aging levees should not be relied on to provide complete protection from major flood events.
You can view Tulsa’s flood maps online at: https://www.cityoftulsa.org/city-services/flood-control/regulatory-floodplain-map-atlas.aspx
If you live in a flood-prone area, it is even more important that steps be taken to secure your home and family from danger. To learn more about flood preparedness and safety, visit: www.floodsmart.gov or www.cityoftulsa.org/city-services/flood-control.aspx
To better understand your risk of flooding, call the City of Tulsa Customer Care Center at (918) 596-2100 to request a free flood zone determination. The City of Tulsa has staff available to help you better understand the potential impacts of flooding to your home, can help you interpret detailed floodplain maps and explain the flood insurance and development requirements. To learn more about flood risk and insurance, contact Bill Robison, Floodplain Engineer or Laura Hendrix, Floodplain Administrator through the City’s Customer Care Center at (918) 596-2100.
*Information provided by Tulsa Partners Inc.