National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

Thursday, March 21, 2013

...2013 National Flood Safety Awareness Week…

The National Weather Service continues its annual Flood Safety Awareness Week campaign today through Friday, March 22nd. This year the National Weather Service is also commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Great Ohio Valley Flood of 1913 which occurred between March 23 and 27th and was the largest weather disaster in Ohio’s history.

Great Ohio Valley Flood of 1913 Flood Insurance Poster     Great Ohio Valley Flood of 1913 Flood Zone Poster

Everyone lives in a flood zone, with their risk of flooding ranging from low to moderate to high. Floods are four times more likely to occur than a fire. Low hazard flood areas are also at risk, as 25 to 35 percent of all claims each year are paid for property located outside high risk areas. Through its Flood Hazard Mapping Program, FEMA provides the public with information regarding their flood risk.

Many homeowners believe if they experience flooding that their insurance will cover the costs, but most homeowners’ insurance does not protect against flood damage. Just a few inches of water in a home can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

Homeowners, renters, and business owners are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as their community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. This is a federal program enabling property owners to purchase insurance protection against losses from flooding. It takes 30 days after purchase for a policy to take effect, so it is important to buy insurance before floodwaters start to rise.

If the Ohio Valley were to receive a rainfall event similar to the March 1913 event, would conditions be better or worse? No matter how high the rivers rise in future floods, citizens today have advantages not available in 1913. Dozens of local, state, and federal agencies along with the private sector and academia have worked hard over the last century to reduce flood risk. If the flood waters come again, citizens have resources and tools available to help them prepare, respond, and recover.

It is important that citizens look at the impacts from past floods in their area in order to be better prepared today. The National Weather Service believes that accurate, up-to-date flood hazard information is crucial to protect lives and property.

More information about the National Flood Insurance Program can be found at

WWW.FLOODSMART.GOV.  Information about FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping can be found at  www.ready.gov/floods or www.floodsmart.gov. For more information about the Great Ohio Valley Flood of 1913 please visit http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu/1913Flood/.