Flood Prevention


Above the Flood: Elevating Your Floodprone House
Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2000.
Full text available online (pdf)

Answers to Questions About the National Flood Insurance Program
Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2011.
Full text available online (pdf)

Answers to Questions About Substantially Damaged Buildings
National Flood Insurance Program Community Assistance Series
Federal Emergency Management Agency, May 1991.
Full text available online (pdf)

Design Guidelines for Flood Damage Reduction
Federal Emergency Management Agency, December 1981.
Full text available online (pdf)

Directory of Tulsa Resources: Flood Protection
(Location: Tulsa Floods Vertical File)
City of Tulsa, Department of Public Works, 1999.

Disaster Public Information Catalog
(Location: Tulsa Floods Vertical File)
August 1995.

Elevated Residential Structures
Federal Emergency Management Agency, March 1984.
Full text available online (pdf)

From Harm's Way: Flood-hazard Mitigation in Tulsa, Oklahoma 
City of Tulsa, December 1993.
Copies are available at some regional branches as well as Central Library.

From Rooftop to River: Tulsa's Approach to Floodplain and Stormwater Management
City of Tulsa, May 1994.
Copies are available at some TCCL branches as well as Central Library.

Guide to flood maps: How to Use a Flood Map to Determine Flood Risk for a Property
Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2006.

Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House From Flooding
Federal Emergency Management Agency, June 1996.
Full-text available online

Managing Floodplain Development in Approximate Zone A Areas: A Guide for Obtaining and Developing Base (100-Year) Flood Elevations
(Online Access Only)
Federal Emergency Management Agency, July 1995.

Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance Guidelines
Federal Emergency Management Agency, September 2007.
Full-text available online

Planning for a Sustainable Future: The Link Between Hazard Mitigation and Livability
(Online Access Only)
Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2000.

Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage
(Online Access Only)
Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1998.

Protecting Floodplain Resources: A Guidebook for Communities
(Location: Tulsa Floods Vertical File)
Federal Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force, June 1996.
Full-text available online (pdf)

Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards 
(Online Access Only)
Federal Emergency Management Agency, November 2009

Rebuilding for a More Sustainable Future: An Operational Framework
(Online Access Only)
Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2000.

Repairing Your Flooded Home
American Red Cross, 1992.
Full-text available online (pdf)

Reducing Losses in High Risk Flood Hazard Areas: A Guidebook for Local Officials
Federal Emergency Management Agency, February 1987.
Full-text available online (pdf) 

Unified National Program for Floodplain Management
Federal Emergency Management Agency, May 1994.
Available online

Flood Maps

Tulsa County Floodplain Map -- INCOG
The Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) Database depicts flood risk information and supporting data used to develop the risk data.

City of Tulsa Regulatory Floodplain Map Atlas
Current edition is housed in the map drawer in the Central Library Research Center and multiple library branch locations.

Local Stream Gauges
Links to several stream gauges in waterways that have a direct impact on the Tulsa area.

Repetitive Loss Areas
Areas of the community including buildings on FEMA's list of repetitive losses, and also any nearby properties that are subject to the same or similar flooding conditions.

A General Guide to Regulatory Flood Plains
Located in the maps drawer in the Central Library Research Center.

FEMA Map Service Center
Search by address for FEMA flood maps.

Additional Information
Official site of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assists with the preparation and recovery of natural disasters

NFIP publications
brochures, information sheets and more from the NFIP

Flood information at the Tulsa City-County Library
flood related information in the library's collections

Watershed information from the Tulsa City-County Library
watershed related information in the library's collections

Flood safety from the American Red Cross
information to prepare for potential disasters, including floods

City of Tulsa Flood Safety & Insurance Fact Sheet

Tulsa is located in one of the most scenic natural areas of Oklahoma. Unfortunately, many locations within the city suffer repeated flood damages when torrential storms strike. Some of these areas are not in a designated floodplain.

In the 1970s and 1980s Tulsa County had the most federal disaster declarations in the nation. In 1984, a flash flood caused $180 million in damages and 14 deaths.

Since that time, we have made tremendous progress. Dozens of flood projects have been completed, and more are planned and under way. Tulsa has established an award-winning, comprehensive flood program that is cited as a national model. Overall, the risk of flooding has been substantially reduced - but not eliminated. Because of our climate and location, Tulsa can never be considered 100 percent floodsafe. Inevitably, sooner or later, Tulsa will flood again, and spring is our most vulnerable time.

The Stormwater Drainage Advisory Board, a citizen board appointed by the Mayor, conducts meetings throughout the city to hear citizens' ideas on drainage problems. Public Works provides the Board and interested citizens with updates on planned or proposed projects at each meeting.

Several of Tulsa's creeks and rivers periodically have flash floods. The flash floods usually have high velocities and are extremely dangerous. Flood damages have occurred at various times along the Arkansas River and numerous creeks, including Valley View, Flat Rock, Dirty Butter, Bird, Coal, Mingo, Haikey, Fry, Vensel, Fred, Joe, Hager, Nickel, Mooser, Cherry-Red Fork, Perryman, Crow, Elm, Park View, Oak, Harlow and Bigheart.

Flood insurance is available for all properties in Tulsa.

Most homeowners' policies do not cover flood losses. You can protect your home and contents through the National Flood Insurance Program.

You should obtain coverage for structure and contents. There can be more damage to the contents than the structure. Renters can buy contents coverage even if the owner does not insure the structure.

There is a 30-day waiting period before the policy becomes effective.

Flood insurance is required by law in order to obtain federally secured financing to buy, build, or renovate a structure located in a flood hazard area. This financing includes federal grants, FHA and VA loans, and most conventional mortgage loans.

To find out more about flood insurance, contact any licensed property/casualty agent or broker - the same person who sells your home and auto policies. All agencies charge the same premiums.

You may be denied federal assistance after a disaster if you don't have flood insurance.

Find out more about flood insurance here:

Tulsa's Natural Floodplains

Many local floodplains have been preserved for recreational activities, and as wetland habitat for wildlife, but they can still be treacherous during heavy rainfall. Avoid entering these areas when flooding is occurring.

A beautiful natural area, "Red Bud Valley," has been preserved, and is open to the public. Also, several drainage improvements in the Mingo Creek area include planting of special water plants and grasses to improve their natural functions of wildlife habitat and filtering nutrients and impurities from water.

You can protect your property.

Floodproofing buildings can help reduce the potential for flood damages to structures and their contents. A building permit may be required for this type of work. If your property is located where you can safely implement floodproofing, it could pay to investigate your options. Several informative brochures may be checked out at your library and copies can be obtained free from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

You may consider raising your house above flood levels, or you may want to keep water away by regrading your lot or building a small floodwall or earthen dam. Also, ask your plumber about a valve to prevent sewer back-up. These measures are often called retrofitting. Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency waterproofing. And remember that drainage ditches perform much better when kept clear of brush and debris.

City staff is available to discuss specific details with you during normal business hours - call the Mayor's Action Center at 596-2100 for assistance.

Permits are required before you build.

A floodplain watershed development permit must be obtained from the City of Tulsa before commencing construction, landfill, or excavation in the floodplain. Any activity outside the floodplain but within a natural or man-made watercourse also requires a permit.

For a free flood-zone determination, contact the Mayor's Action Center at 596-2100 with the correct address or legal description of the property. A written determination will be mailed to you. Also, detailed floodplain boundary maps are available online from FEMA, on file in City Hall at 175 E. 2nd Street, and at select Tulsa libraries.

New buildings in the floodplain must be protected from flood damage. Our building code requires that new buildings must be elevated one foot above the elevation of the City of Tulsa Regulatory Floodplain.  No construction, including filling, is allowed in the mapped floodway without an engineering analysis that shows the project will not increase flood damage elsewhere.

Before you begin construction or add on to your existing building, contact the Mayor's Action Center, 596-2100. Qualified staff can help you build a safe project and comply with local floodplain policies. This information could not only save you time and money - it could save your life.

Cleaner creeks: You can help.

Drainage systems are maintained regularly to help prevent water from backing up into streets and homes. If you spot a blocked drain or see illegal development in a flood zone, call 596-2100, and an inspector will investigate.

Don't pour used motor oil, antifreeze, old pesticides or any other pollutants down the storm drainage system. All storm sewers in Tulsa drain to the Arkansas River or Bird Creek and are monitored regularly for compliance with Tulsa's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit.

Putting foreign substances into this system can also cause flooding, and is a violation of City ordinance punishable by fines of up to $100 a day.

Please do your part and keep the inlets and drainage ways clear of brush and debris.

Listen for flood sirens.

Emergency sirens are located in neighborhoods throughout Tulsa. When flooding is expected in your area, the emergency sirens will be activated. For floods, the warning will be an alternating high-low siren followed by an explanation over the public address system located on the siren box, if required.

You should immediately turn on your radio or television for news bulletins. Our warning system can interrupt all local radio and television stations, including cable. These bulletins are issued immediately upon receipt of new information.

Before the Flood

Be alert when storms approach. Be prepared to move valuables to a higher location and to evacuate immediately, if necessary.

Prepare a flood response plan that will help you think through all the details that demand attention after a flood watch or warning is issued.

Writing it down will help you remember everything, which is especially important when everyone is in a hurry and excited because a flood is coming.

Put photocopies of inventory records, insurance policies, deeds, automobile titles, wills, telephone numbers, bank and credit card account numbers, and other valuable papers at a location away from your house, such as a safe deposit box.

If you know a flood is coming you should shut off the gas and electricity and move valuable contents of your home upstairs. If you're not sure how to turn off your gas and electricity, call your local utility companies.

When the Flood Comes

The safety of your family is the most important consideration. Flood waters can rise rapidly, so you should be prepared to evacuate before the water reaches your property.

Do not walk through flowing water. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can sweep you off your feet. Use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there before you enter standing water.

Do not drive through a flooded area. Most flood deaths occur in cars. Don't drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.

If you're caught in the house by floodwater, move to the second floor or to the roof. Take warm clothing, a flashlight, and portable radio with you. Wait for help.

After the Flood

Before entering the building, check for structural damage and turn off outside gas lines to your meter. Let the building air out for several minutes before entering.

Watch for electrical shorts and live wires while turning off the main power switch. Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number-two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electricity can travel through water.

Cover broken windows and holes in the roof or walls to prevent further weather damage.

Proceed with immediate cleanup measures to reduce any health hazards. Take pictures of items being discarded and show them to the insurance appraiser for verification.

Report flooding inside a building as soon as possible to the Mayor's Action Center, 596-2100.

Water for drinking and food preparation should be boiled vigorously for ten minutes.

You need to obtain a permit for repair if it's more than just cleanup. If your property is substantially damaged (50 percent of the value of the building), federal regulations may require you to elevate or floodproof before you can rebuild. Elevation or floodproofing also may be required if you want to construct a substantial improvement (the cost of the improvement or add-on is 50 percent of the value of the existing building).

Disaster Resources

Disaster Resources

Flood Safety Information
Learn how to protect your family's lives and property.

City of Tulsa Flood Safety flood safety information

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management's Flood Preparedness

City of Tulsa's latest announcements are located in their Press Room.

Red Cross Flood Safety

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention flood water safety information.

Shelters, Housing & Hotels

The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center for those who might be displaced at Crosstown Church of Christ at 3400 E Admiral.

Faith Church, 1901 W 171st St., in Glenpool is accepting evacuees, as well as crated pets. The American Red Cross is there, and they are asking for volunteers. 

Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency has Emergency Housing Assistance available to Oklahoma families displaced by recent storms where their home has been left uninhabitable. OHFA provides grants of up to $1,500 for temporary hotel accommodations and/or security or utility deposits for more permanent housing. To apply for assistance, call (405) 419-8196 to leave a message on OHFA’s housing hotline for the disaster housing grant.

Mayo Hotel
Mayo Hotel is extending a discounted rate to anyone who has had to evacuate their homes. Call 918-582-6296 for a special offer of $109 (standard king), $129 (doubles) and $149 (suites). Availability is limited, and some restrictions may apply.

The Quality Inn Tulsa
Downtown West is offering rooms for a $60 rate, and they are also making an exemption for pets for flood victims. To qualify, people must show their ID with an address of a location that is affected by the storm or flood damage.

Food & Utilities

For more information on assistance with food and utilities, search Oklahoma 211, or visit the Food Help, Food Pantries, and Free Meals page on our website.

Sand Springs residents:
Sand Springs Community Services, 114 W 4th St, Sand Springs, (918) 245-5183.

Phone Services

The following U.S. Cellular stores are providing free phone chargers, portable battery packs, internet access and charging stations for those affected by the storms: 7370 S. Olympia Ave., Tulsa; 8022 E. 101st St., Tulsa; B&B Digital, 210 W. Rogers Blvd., Skiatook

Sand Bag Locations

Tulsa – Oral Roberts University Mabee Center parking lot, 7777 S. Lewis Ave., open 24/7

Jenks – Jenks Softball Field, 1701 N. Birch St.

For the Jenks location, bags are available to fill, but the public is responsible to bring their own shovel(s). The weekend hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Bixby – White Hawk at Highway 67 and South 49th East Avenue. Limit 25 bags per vehicle.

Flood Insurance

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders, who have questions about their flood insurance policy or the claims process can contact the support hotline at 1-800-427-4661.

FEMA NFIP policyholder help with or without a disaster declaration


The Small Business Administration provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters.

Other Help

U-Haul Companies of Tulsa and Oklahoma City are making 18 facilities available for 30 days of free self-storage to Oklahomans impacted by continued flooding across the state. People seeking additional information or needing to arrange 30 days free self-storage should contact the nearest participating U-Haul store location. Find locations at

National Child Traumatic Stress Network flood resources

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management asks residents impacted by the recent storms to report damages to their property at or by calling 211. Reporting damage helps local and state emergency managers better coordinate response and recovery efforts.

You may also contact Oklahoma 211 for help lines, disaster services, and other assistance.

From now until June 14, 2019, several relief agencies are staffing a free hotline for muck-out, debris removal, and home cleanup from the recent statewide storms and flooding. This hotline will connect survivors with vetted relief agencies that will assist in debris cleanup and mucking out. All services are free, but service is not guaranteed due to the expected overwhelming need. The public may call 800-451-1954 to request help with storm and flooding related cleanup. Those requests will be shared with relief organizations at

Non-emergency numbers for local police and service agencies are as follows:

Bixby PD 918-366-8294
Catoosa PD 918-266-2424
EMSA 918-596-3010
Jenks PD 918-299-6311
Sand Springs PD 918-245-8777
Skiatook PD 918-396-2424
Sperry PD 918-288-7333
Tulsa PD 918-596-9222
Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office 918-596-5600

Current & Historical Local Floods

Current Conditions

A State of Emergency remains in effect for 66 Oklahoma counties due to severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding that began in April. Under the Executive Order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions needed to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance should it be necessary.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Flood Status Information

USACE's Daily Morning Reservoir Report provides current lake levels, limits, and occupied storage information.

Find flood pool status by basin here:
Lower Arkansas River
Verdigris River
Upper Arkansas River

An updated Keystone Dam Inundation Map is now available.

Interactive Arkansas River map viewer

Highway & Road Closures

ODOT road conditions and closures map

List of state highway closures (5/23/2019)

Tulsa frequently flooded streets, with associated creek


Current flood conditions and notifications

Floodplain Maps

Tulsa City floodplain maps

FEMA Flood Map Service Center

Flood Prone Areas

National Weather Service's list of known flood prone areas in and around Tulsa.

Bixby lists neighborhoods to be evacuated.

Tulsa World Gallery

Aerial views of flooding along the Arkansas River and Bird Creek (5/22/2019)

Local News

Find updates from local news outlets here:

KJRH Channel 2

KOTV Channel 6

KJRH Channel 8

KOKI Fox 23


Tulsa World










Historical Local Floods