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Q&A: When should you evacuate because of flooding?

  • 3 min to read
Flooding Aerial

O’Brien Park on North Lewis Avenue is partially covered by water during flooding on Bird Creek on May 22. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World

Q. How will I know to evacuate?

A. Listen for the flood sirens. Monitor the city of Tulsa’s website and social media pages. In Tulsa, uniformed officers in marked police vehicles will inform you with messages from the police patrol cars saying…

“This is the Tulsa Police Department. You are in a possible flood area. We recommend you evacuate. Emergency services may not be able to evacuate you if this area floods. This is a dangerous situation.”

Q. Is my neighborhood affected?

A. Watch and Twitter feeds for @TAEMA7 and @cityoftulsagov for updates. If you hear a message from local authorities in your neighborhood or hear the flooding sirens, you will know to evacuate.

To hear the different siren sounds for flooding, please see

Q. My neighborhood is being evacuated and I’m away at work. Can I go back to get my things?

A. Once your neighborhood is evacuated, you might not be able to get back to your house. Gather important belongings, IDs, pets, and other important things from your house prior to evacuation.

Q. Where can I go if I become displaced?

A. Residents may go to the Red Cross Evacuation Center — Crosstown Church of Christ at 3400 E. Admiral Place.

Q. I have natural gas hooked up to my house, what do I do?

A. ONG is shutting off gas meters to certain affected areas. If you smell natural gas, usually described as a pungent, “rotten egg” odor, leave the area immediately. Use a phone at a safe distance away from the odor, and call 911 or 800-458-4251.

Q. Will my electricity be affected?

A. PSO is working with city officials to designate areas in which they might need to disconnect power. If you’re asked to evacuate, turn off your main breaker before you leave. If you have an emergency power system, be sure to shut it down before you evacuate. Once you return home and your power has been out for a time, throw away spoiled food.

Q. Where can I obtain sandbags?

A. As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, there were no sandbags available. City officials are filling sandbags to make them available for the public. Additional information will be distributed through the news media, social media, website and 2-1-1 when they are ready.

Q. Who do I contact for more information?

A. Call 211 if you’re in Tulsa County.

Q. Where can I report damage to my home?

A. You can report damage to 211 or

Q. I don’t have flood insurance, is this covered by my homeowner’s insurance?

A. Homeowner’s insurance usually won’t cover flooding. Unless you have flood insurance from the federal government already, the cost might not be covered. Contact your insurance provider for more information. If you can, take pictures and videos of your home before leaving to show to your insurance provider.

Q. Can I get flood insurance now to cover this?

A. Flood insurance normally takes 30 days to take effect, so in this case it might not benefit you to attempt getting it now.

Q. What if I choose NOT to evacuate?

A. Emergency personnel might be not able to reach you. First responders might only be able to access you by boat to rescue you. It is strongly recommended you evacuate if asked to do so.

Q. What if you or someone you know has a medical condition and needs to evacuate?

A. Make sure you have a 2-week supply of prescription medications. Place them in an airtight bag to take with you. If you are served by a home care or hospice agency, let them know where you will be going so they can continue to serve you.

Q. Will there be flooding on the interior creeks and tributaries that run into the Arkansas River?

A. That can vary depending on the stage of the river the creeks are trying to flow into. If you live close to one, monitor it and be vigilant.

Q. I have pets, where can they go?

A. Tulsa Animal Welfare advises those with ADA service animals that they can take them to the emergency shelter at Crosstown Church. All other pets can go to their temporary shelter at Tulsa Expo Square Fairground Pavilion. You cannot stay with your animals when you drop them off. If you find a stray animal in your area, take it to your local shelter.

Q. Is there any fear about drinking water contamination?

A. Not at this time.

Q. How long will this flooding last?

A. It’s largely dependent on how much rain we get in the next few days. The rain amount and location of the rain will be the deciding factor. Uncontrolled runoff also plays a factor.

Q. Where do I get information about highway closures?

A. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation posts updates in the Traffic Advisory section of An interactive map showing highway conditions and closures can be found at

Q. I want to help out affected families. How can I do that?

A. Donations for displaced families and children can be coordinated with the Red Cross. Call 918-831-1100.

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