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Press Release
May 11, 2016

May is Flood Awareness Month in Oklahoma

Historically, the greatest number of Oklahoma flood disasters have occurred during the month of May. To help raise awareness about flood safety and floodplain management, Governor Mary Fallin has declared May to be "Flood Awareness Month" in Oklahoma on behalf of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) and several other agency and community partners.

In the spring of 2015, and again in early 2016, several parts of Oklahoma experienced tragic loss of life and property due to widespread flood disasters that were caused by record levels of precipitation in many areas. Nationally, flood events remain the No. 1 natural disaster causing more than $10 billion in property damage, as well as numerous deaths each year.

During a flood event, it is critical that Oklahomans closely follow proper flood safety procedures such as refraining from driving into floodwaters. During Oklahoma's recent flood disasters, emergency responders assisted with numerous vehicle-related flood emergencies that easily could have been prevented by simply turning the vehicle around. Floodwaters are unsafe due swift and unpredictable currents, submerged or floating debris, water quality concerns, and several other related issues.

It is equally critical for Oklahomans to remain aware of the floodplain management policies in their community, as well as the flood insurance options available to them. Each year, many Oklahoma residents are victims of flood damage without any flood insurance coverage.

Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968 to mitigate future flood damage and provide community officials with the tools needed to prevent property damage and loss of life due to flooding events. The NFIP allows residents of participating communities to purchase affordable flood insurance in exchange for regulating floodplain development.

While the OWRB is the state agency designated to coordinate the NFIP in Oklahoma, the decision on participation in the NFIP is made at the community level. The OWRB promotes community enrollment in the program, and currently advises over 400 current members on steps to ensure future program participation. Unfortunately, only 11 percent of all structures within Oklahoma's designated 100-year floodplains are currently covered by flood insurance.

Please join the OWRB, and the following partnering agencies and organizations, in recognizing May as " "Flood Awareness Month" in Oklahoma and in raising awareness about preventing and mitigating the catastrophic effects of flooding disasters: Oklahoma Floodplain Managers Association, Oklahoma Insurance Department, Oklahoma Emergency Management, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Oklahoma Municipal League, Association of County Commissioners, Oklahoma Legislature, and Oklahoma Emergency Managers Association.

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