Tulsans help neighbors affected by destructive floods

Community rallies after devastating and historic spring storms in Tulsa.



Numerous volunteers assisted in clean up along River Parks in early June.

Courtesy RiverParks

Long after the floodwaters recede and the chaotic spring weather is replaced by the hot days of summer, Tulsa-area communities and many of their residents will continue to face ongoing recovery from the devastating consequences of May’s storms. After the debris is cleared and the river is back within its banks, much remains to be done. 

According to Joseph Kralicek, the executive director of the Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency (TAEMA), close to 600 homes in Tulsa County were affected. Over half of those were in west Tulsa’s Town and Country neighborhood, most of which had 3 or more feet of water. At most, 25% of those homes had flood insurance, according to Kralicek. Parts of the area are in the 100-year floodplain, others are in the 500-year floodplain. Kralicek believes it will take years to recover from the damage.

“I always want to stress to people that this isn’t something that is going to be fixed in a matter of days or even weeks,” he says. “You’re looking at about one year of recovery for every day of disaster. Some of these homes were under water for a week, which means some of these homeowners and some of these families will not be back in the position they were prior to the disaster for seven years.” 

Beyond the short-term plan for debris cleanup, TAEMA has coordinated a long-term recovery committee comprised of government agencies, civic organizations, volunteer groups and disaster relief philanthropies to continue the efforts. A fund has been created through Tulsa Community Foundation, in partnership with United Way, to receive donations. Support can be directed online to vast.bank/floodrelief.

Although Kralicek was impressed with the city and the community’s response to the event, he believes the recovery will still be long and costly. “This isn’t over at all. The response has ended, but the work hasn’t. It has changed its shape and appearance,” he comments. “I was working 18-hour days at one point, and I’m going to continue to work massive amounts of hours to help get these folks back to where they were before this happened.”

Damage from the storms has displaced many families, and it has also brought an unexpected financial burden. The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is working to ensure these families have enough to eat. 

“I’ve been at the Food Bank for seven and a half years,” says its executive director, Eileen Bradshaw. “This is the largest disaster event I’ve been a part of.”

The Food Bank is distributing special Disaster Relief Food Boxes, which include more ready-to-eat products. Bradshaw encourages Tulsans to volunteer their time by signing up for a shift on the organization’s website okfoodbank.org. Hosting a food drive and monetary donations also are great ways to show support. 

 “It’s just the community serving people because that’s how we get the food out, through the community,” she says. “This is really neighbors taking care of neighbors. It just passes through our doors.”

The river itself and the parks and trail system were greatly impacted, too. Although repairs will be ongoing for some time, most of the public areas are up and running, thanks to the hard work of the River Parks Authority, volunteers and other organizations.

According to Tony Moore, executive director of Tulsa’s Gathering Place, that park is fully opened. “We did have some erosion in the areas of the park that are closest in proximity to the river, and we did have some flooding on our sports courts,” he notes. “But as far as guest experiences, minimal to no impact.” The park was closed for four days during the flooding event. As of press time, two of the six courts remain closed.

Matt Meyer, executive director of the River Parks Authority, says the stabilization of the riverbanks will be a long-term project. It will be funded through a number of sources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). At press time, engineering assessments were underway.

“We’ll have hundreds of feet of bank stabilization to do to protect our trails,” he says. “Some of it could be riprap (a rocky material), which is cheaper, and some of it could be cabled concrete.” 

As the sun shines again, most Tulsans return to “normal life,” but it’s important to remember the ongoing challenges that remain. “I have to remind people that this was a very catastrophic month of May for most of Tulsa County,” TAEMA’s Kralicek says. “Most people probably know at least one person who is impacted by this. If you really want to help, reach out to that person and help however you can. Help them with pulling carpet out. If they need a place to stay, give them a roof over their head, even cook them a meal. Give them a friendly ear.

“There are a lot of people in our community who are hurting right now and could use a friendly shoulder. I urge everybody to be that friend.” 

Several portions of River Parks were submerged due to flooding of the Arkansas River, which reached 23.41 feet on May 29, the highest since Oct. 5, 1986, according to the National Weather Service.

Flood insurance 101

May’s catastrophic weather, overflowing rivers and ear-piercing sirens were a stark reminder of the destructive power of Mother Nature. Although you can’t control the weather, you can take steps to mitigate its consequences.

Flood losses aren’t covered by most homeowner insurance policies. Purchasing coverage for your home and its contents through the federal government-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is something to consider.

Tulsans are eligible to buy the insurance. It’s available to homeowners, as well as renters. The City of Tulsa has a discount of up to 40% on flood insurance for homeowners living in a Special Flood Hazard Area (100-year floodplain) and a 10% discount for all others. Homeowners are required by law to buy flood insurance if they have a federally backed mortgage and live in a high-risk flood area. This insurance provides a maximum of $250,000 for repairs and $100,000 for damaged contents, and it’s available for purchase through any agent who participates in the NFIP.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), no home is completely safe from flooding, and as little as an inch of water in a home can cause more than $25,000 in damage. Statistically, more than 20% of flood claims come from properties outside of high-risk flood zones. Without flood insurance, those costs are out of pocket to the homeowner. Even when an area receives a Presidential Disaster Declaration — as Tulsa recently did — making it eligible for FEMA disaster grants, those grants pay only $5,000 per household on average. By comparison, the average flood insurance claim is closer to $30,000.

In light of Tulsa’s devastating spring storms, it might be a good time to take stock of your risk, as well as your coverage. For more information, visit floodsmart.gov.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

6 unique places in Wichita worth a stop

Plenty to see and do in Kansas’ largest city

New startup empowers black women business owners

Charity Marcus and Aszurdee Sade co-founded Black Women Business Owners of Tulsa.

Beat boredom with these fun summer finds

Ribbons boasts a wide selection of summertime accessories and party needs.
Edit Module

Add your comment:

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

August 2019

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Senior Star Round-Up - August 18 - Cain's Ballroom - 2 to 5 p.m. The annual Senior Star Round-Up is Sunday, August 18, at the Cain's Ballroom, 423 N. Main Street in Tulsa. This popular...

Cost: $10

Where:
Cain's Ballroom
423 N. Main St.
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Sponsor: Senior Star Living
Telephone: (918) 664-9000
Contact Name: Emily Fox

More information

BROKEN ARROW COMMUNITY PLAYHOUSE Presents “The Wizard of Oz” (R.S.C.1987) By L. Frank Baum With Music and Lyrics by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg Background Music by...

Cost: $22-$25

Where:
Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
1800 S Main St
Broken Arrow, OK  Broken Arrow
View map »


Sponsor: Broken Arrow Community Playhouse
Telephone: 918-258-0077
Contact Name: 74012
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

You're invited to our new store Grand Opening Celebration in Broken Arrow, August 21st for an all day event! As you know, this year marks our 30 year anniversary of serving business minded...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stow's Office Furniture
3604 S Elm Place
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
View map »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Sign up now for the Tulsa Area United Way's 9th Annual Golf Scramble – a local tradition that pairs an enjoyable morning of golf with helping your community.

Cost: $400 per team

Where:
LaFortune Park Golf Course
5501 S Yale Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

  The biggest sporting event in history for Broken Arrow is set to happen on Friday, August 23rd. The event will take place outside in Downtown Broken Arrow near the intersection of...

Cost: $52.00

Where:
Downtown Broken Arrow
The intersection of Commercial and Main streets
Broken Arrow, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Wings, Wheels & Wishes is a fly-in, car and bike show benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma in loving memory of Collinsville Wish Kid, Bill Campbell. Our event features vintage...

Cost: Free to the public

Where:
Airman Acres Airport
12600 N. 73rd E. Ave.
Collinsville, OK  74021
View map »


Telephone: 918-510-3423
Contact Name: Cindi Conner
Website »

More information

  Our 17th Annual CimTel Classic 5K is August 24, 2019! The registration begins at 6:30am and the race begins at 8am at Cleveland High School 600 N Gilbert Cleveland, OK. The entry fee is $25 for...

Cost: 25.00

Where:
Cleveland High School
600 N Gilbert
Cleveland, OK  74020
View map »


Sponsor: CimTel
Contact Name: Allee Pearson
Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Maker Faire Tulsa is an award-winning, family-friendly event celebrating technology, education, science, arts, crafts, engineering, food, sustainability, and making of all kinds. The 7th...

Cost: Free

Where:
Central Park Hall at Expo Square
1701 S Sandusky Ave
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: Fab Lab Tulsa
Telephone: 918-779-6025
Contact Name: Nathan Pritchett
Website »

More information

Maker Faire Tulsa is an award-winning, family-friendly event celebrating technology, education, science, arts, crafts, engineering, food, sustainability, and making of all kinds. In 2019, Fab Lab...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Central Park Hall @ Expo Square
4145 East 21st Street
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »

More information

Bobby O’s Slices + Pies, located in the Meadow Gold District along Route 66, will host a day of meal deals, merchandise giveaways, and kids activities for their Back-to-School Bash. The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bobby O's
1502 E. 11th St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: Bobby O's
Telephone: 918-586-2455
Website »

More information

Oh, Tulsa is a Living Arts biennial that celebrates visual, performance, literary, sound, video, and installation art for the Tulsa community. Eligible work includes: Tulsa residents, artists who...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

DIVAS JUMP THE POND - THE BRITISH INVASION!! DIVAS 4 H.O.P.E. features live music from Tulsa’s diverse local artists along with cocktails, dinner, and one-of-a-kind live and silent auction...

Cost: $15,000 - $250

Where:
Assembly Hall - Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Health Outreach Prevention Education, Inc.
Telephone: 918-688-5022
Contact Name: Kathy L Williams
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

What's New


3.02: Getting Schooled — Dr. Deborah Gist

A conversation with Dr. Deborah Gist, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, about the new school year and managing one of the state's largest public school districts with low funding.

Comments

Oklahoma's Best-Sellers: Aug. 18

Based on total number of book sales at Magic City Books, Best of Books in Edmond, Brace Books and More in Ponca City, and Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City.

Comments

How do you create affordable housing for all Tulsans?

Q&A with Becky Gligo, City of Tulsa's first housing policy director

Comments

Video: Onifade's Cookie Co.

Comments: 1

3:01: Higher Education - Dr. Leigh Goodson

Dr. Leigh Goodson, president and CEO of Tulsa Community College, on TCC's 50th anniversary, the Tulsa Achieves program and the importance of going to college in 2019.

Comments