Governor Kevin Stitt recently declared March Flood Insurance Awareness Month in Oklahoma according to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.
"Oklahomans should take the first opportunity to get informed about nearby floodplains, floodplain development regulations, and make decisions about flood insurance and flood preparation," said OWRB Executive Director Julie Cunningham. "Given the dangerous and expensive nature of floods, and the rapid timeframe in which they can occur, being ready for the next event is essential."
Claremore has several flood prone areas across town, near the watershed of Cat Creek and Dog Creek, as seen in the map accompanying this article.
The floodplain is determined based on topography and engineering done by FEMA experts, but it is not fool-proof.
Claremore Floodplain Manager Kyle Clifton offered advice for the people of Claremore on how to prepare for a flood.
“One of the things that we always try to preach is that residents need to find the safest route from their home to higher ground and then practice taking that route with their entire family,” Clifton said.
Making an itemized list of personal property with photos is important for anyone seeking insurance in advance or requesting disaster relief assistance after the fact.
Valuables, legal documents, and insurance policies should be kept in a safe and accessible location, Clifton said.
“You need to keep a battery operated radio and flashlight ready and make sure they are in good working order,” Clifton said. “Have emergency food, water and medical supplies on hand.”
“If the home is severely flood prone, they need to consider having some sand bags, plastic sheeting and other materials that can be used to temporarily protect their property,” Clifton said.
The city tries to alert residents in advance of storms that could turn into flood events. However, Clifton said, floods can be incredibly unpredictable and it is always best to be prepared.
“People tend to think that because a flood has never happened that a flood will not happen,” Clifton said. “Statistics and history will show you that it is simply not the case.”
The city recommends anyone who is able to afford flood insurance purchase it, even those who are just outside of the floodplain.
Flood insurance is acquired from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Those who have further questions can contact Clifton through the city or call NFIP directly at their toll-free number.