Governor John Carney has proclaimed May 9 through 13 Delaware Flood Awareness Week to inform residents about flood risk, likelihood of flooding from extreme weather events brought on by climate change, the importance of having a flood insurance policy, and flood remediation for property damage or loss. “Every Delawarean should make sure that they are prepared for unexpected flood events,” said Governor Carney. “Flood Awareness Week allows for federal, state and local emergency agencies to increase public awareness of flood risks. Explore the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s resources to make sure that you’re prepared.”
Throughout next week DNREC and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) will highlight numerous resources for flood awareness in Delaware, to include an interactive quiz, webinar and floodplain mapping tool.
“Delaware is the lowest-lying state and has the lowest average land elevation in the country – we are already susceptible to flooding and becoming more at risk from sea level rise,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “With climate change spawning more extreme weather events, including hurricanes and tornadoes, flooding is an issue that we must confront with greater urgency. It’s imperative to get word out on flooding and flood risk management.”
“Delaware is experiencing significant flooding with increasing frequency in areas that have not previously experienced flood events. We encourage residents to be proactive to understand how flooding could affect them and take the appropriate precautions to protect their property and families,” said Department of Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Nathaniel McQueen Jr.
Much of the impetus behind Delaware Flood Awareness Week is helping the public become better informed about flood insurance, which provides policy holders with financial security and ensures quick recovery of personal property from flood damage. Delawareans can learn how much they know with a new interactive online flood quiz, available on Monday, May 9 from @DelawareDNREC social media pages. The quiz and much more information about flood awareness also can be found at de.gov/floodrisk.
Much of the focus for Flood Awareness Week is on the tools and resources available to help Delawareans understand flood risk and be proactive addressing it on a personal property level. DNREC and DEMA staff will be on hand virtually and via social media during the week to explain flood insurance issues, to help residents access a flood insurance policy, and to advise on mitigation assistance resources in Delaware.
On Tuesday, May 10, DNREC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will host a flood insurance virtual open house, with two hour-long discussions, in the morning from 10 to 11 a.m. and an evening session from 6 to 7 p.m. The open house offers expert commentary from the state and federal level, and the private sector on flood insurance and Risk Rating 2.0, the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) new risk rating and pricing methodology. At the end of each open house, the panel will address general questions from attendees via Zoom chat. More information, including Zoom registration, can be found at de.gov/floodrisk.
DNREC’s Floodplain Management program will drive more flood insurance and flood awareness outreach later this month, with a DART bus traveling Sussex County routes outfitted with a graphic depiction of a flooded Delaware community under the heading “FLOODS. Are You Prepared?”
The Wednesday, May 11 theme “Flood Safety” is highlighted by more social media and outreach from DEMA, carrying messages such as “Flooding Can Be Dangerous” and, particularly in Delaware, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” when encountering flooded roadways – a typical passenger vehicle can be swept away toward a tragic outcome by as little as 12 inches of onrushing water.
The flood awareness theme for Thursday, May 12 is “Know Your Flood Risk,” with a goal of encouraging Delawareans to research flood risk for their property. DNREC supports this effort by providing the Delaware Flood Planning Tool app, which can be found at de.gov/floodplanning. DNREC’s social media awareness message for the day is “Anywhere it rains, it can flood. Know your flood risk. Use the Delaware Flood Planning Tool to view other flood risk information for your property.”
For the Friday, May 13, and the flood awareness theme of “Remediation and Mitigation,” DEMA will turn to social media for explaining how actions taken now can reduce Delaware’s vulnerability to future disasters – how, on average, $1 spent on hazard mitigation provides Delawareans $4 in future benefits. The theme extends to helping Delawareans understand the benefits of mitigating at the local level, including how they can apply for mitigation grants through their local communities.
The finale for flood awareness week outreach efforts is a bonus for the next generation of Delaware property owners. DNREC’s Floodplain Management Program will unveil a working model of a floodplain Saturday, May 14 at the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship’s “Water Family Fest” at the James Farm Ecological Reserve that helps young people understand flooding and its impacts. The Enviroscape tabletop is a hands-on way to demonstrate flooding and floodplain management concepts – along with showing how flooding on the floodplain can be caused by unplanned development, and the role wetlands play in helping mitigate flooding impacts.