A Day at Cinco de Mayo Festival in Tulsa

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Cinco de Mayo event in the River West Festival Park

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Louisiana-Based Foundations Launch Public-Private Partnership in Support of Building a More Resilient Louisiana

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Mr. Tim Lovell while speaking about the collaboration between our Interpreting Program and Disaster Resilience Network – formerly Tulsa Partners, Inc. at TCC Center for Creativity

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Congratulations to Tina Peña, who serves on our Disaster Resilient Cross-Cultural Council, for receiving an award from the Association of Women in Communications.

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The structure for high-wind tests at the IBHS Research Center is beginning to take shape

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Ottawa gets it right on funding for disaster mitigation

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America’s PrepareAthon event held by Disaster Resilient Cross-Cultural Council and Latinos en la Prensa Tulsa.

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Know Your Risk of Flooding – May Key Message

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, including 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, as well as somewhere to go. 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/government/departments/engineering-services/flood-control/flooding-history/


Levees – Many Tulsans don’t 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 area. 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/government/departments/engineering-services/flood-control/floodplain-map-atlas/

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
https://www.cityoftulsa.org/government/departments/engineering-services/flood-control/flood-safety/

To better understand your risk of flooding, call the City of Tulsa Customer Care Center at 311 (in Tulsa) or at (918) 596-7777 to request a free flood-zone determination. City of Tulsa staff is available to help you better understand the potential impacts of flooding to your home. They can also help you interpret detailed floodplain maps and explain the flood insurance/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) 596-7777.

In partnership with the Disaster Resilience Network, the City of Tulsa shares these monthly key messages from the Program for Public Information as part of the National Flood Insurance Program – Community Rating System. This outreach assists our community in keeping low flood insurance rates. Tulsa property owners and renters are eligible to receive up to a 40 percent discount on flood insurance rates.

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May Hazard of the Month: Flooding

Know Your Risk of Flooding: What Causes Flood Events in Tulsa?

Oklahoma Flooding Events by County 1990 to 2010 (Tulsa County outlined in bold) Source: National Climate Data Center U.S. Storm Events Database

During a flood, excess water overflows a body of water or watercourse (such as a river or creek) and spills into the floodplain nearby. Flooding is the most common and widespread weather hazard. Most flood dangers and deaths are caused by flash floods – when intense storms drop a lot of rain in a brief period. Based on the 38 flood events that occurred from 1995 through 2011, the City of Tulsa is considered to have a HIGH probability of future flood events. The City should expect an average of two or three flood events each year.

Tulsa has 3 main types of flooding:

Riverine floods along major waterways with very large drainage basins, such as the Arkansas River and Bird Creek – This happens when excessive rain upstream collects into rivers and streams which then overflow their banks. This kind of flooding builds slowly, giving downstream areas more warning. However, due to debris, water velocity, and the depth of flooding, riverine flooding can cause more damage than other types.

Flash floods along tributary creeks and water ways that ultimately drain into the Arkansas River or Bird Creek – This kind of flooding happens when storms dump up to 5 inches of rain an hour. When the soil is already soaked, long, hard rains can accumulate into deadly walls of water that build in minutes and are strong enough to cause extensive damage to people, property, and the landscape. Rainfall in the City of Tulsa averages 39 inches per year, but thunderstorms can, and have, dumped more than half that amount on the city in a few hours, causing widespread flooding and devastating flash floods.

Urban floods that impact streets and transportation systems, as well as localized drainage and nuisance flooding problems – Streets flood and sewers back up when rain runoff from buildings and paved surfaces collects in an urban setting. Culverts and drains clogged with debris add to the problem. Storm drains are for rain, not pollutants or debris. The overland flow of rainwater on and between properties can be a nuisance due to poor landscape drainage design.

Flood risk still exists! You have options if you live in a repetitive loss or flood-prone areas.

Along tributary creeks and waterways, the number and size of floods have been greatly reduced, but not eliminated, by significant advances in Tulsa’s floodplain management. The city is still prone to frequent nuisance, street, and localized flooding; it is vulnerable to larger floods along rivers and creeks, and continues to be at risk of catastrophic flooding along the Arkansas River. For more information on your flood risk, call the City of Tulsa Customer Care Center at 311 or 918-596-7777 outside Tulsa, or visit https://www.cityoftulsa.org/government/departments/engineering-services/flood-control/ . You can also visit the Disaster Resilience Network at http://disasterresiliencenetwork.org/monthlymessages/ to review information on flood-related messages like these:

– You Need Flood Insurance
– Everyone should have an Emergency Plan in Case of Flooding or other Disasters
– You can protect your property from flooding
– Get A Building Permit When Constructing in Flood-Prone Areas
– Avoid flood-prone areas when taking shelter during tornado events
– Have a plan to protect your business from flooding or other disasters
– Turn Around Don’t Drown
– LID* Improves Water Quality and Quantity (*Low Impact Development)
– Get A Building Permit when Installing Safe Rooms in Flood-Prone Areas

The Disaster Resilience Network is providing these hazards of the month in conjunction with the City of Tulsa’s Storm Water Drainage and Hazard Mitigation Advisory Board. These hazards are identified in the 2014 City of Tulsa Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.

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