Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: March 8, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation: Julie Buchanan, Julie.Buchanan@dcr.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Announces First Virginia Flood Awareness Week

March 10–16 designated as Virginia Flood Awareness Week, will focus on flood risk and insurance

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam has issued a proclamation designating March 10–16, 2019 as the first Virginia Flood Awareness Week. All Virginians are encouraged to learn the dangers associated with flooding and protect their families, businesses, and communities by getting flood insurance.

The full text of the proclamation can be found here.

“Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, yet most Virginians are not aware of their risk or prepared for the devastating impacts a flood could have,” said Governor Northam. “Recent record-breaking rains remind us how unpredictable and destructive flooding can be. I urge all Virginians to understand how flooding could affect them and take the appropriate precautions to protect their property and their families.”

The Virginia Flood Risk Information System, available through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) website, is a tool to help Virginians to learn about their flood risk.

“Flooding can happen without warning, and all Virginians should know their risk,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “By entering an address in the Virginia Flood Risk Information System, users can find out if their home or business is in the floodplain and see flood insurance rate maps. Regardless of whether one is in a high-risk zone or not, with recent increases in precipitation and extreme weather, the prudent thing is to research a properties flood risk plan accordingly.”

Property owners outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file more than 20 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program claims and receive one-third of federal disaster assistance from flooding.

Only three percent of Virginians have flood insurance, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover damage from floods, surface water or storm surges. It is estimated that one inch of water in a home can cause upwards of $27,000 in damages.

“Virginians should review their insurance policies to make sure they have the coverage they need,” said DCR Director Clyde E. Cristman. “Coverage is available in eligible communities through the National Flood Insurance Program.”

“By purchasing flood insurance and planning to make your property safer, you can significantly lessen the effects of flooding on your home or business and protect your financial investment,” said State Coordinator at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Dr. Jeffrey D. Stern.

On November 2, 2018, Governor Northam signed Executive Order Twenty-Four, addressing the need to protect Virginia’s coasts and bolster the Commonwealth’s resilience to sea level rise and natural hazards, including flooding that can and does occur far from coastal communities. The executive order lays out a series of actions Virginia will undertake to limit the impact of flooding and extreme weather events. Through a mix of structural flood protection and nature and nature-based flood control, Virginia will develop its first ever coastal protection master plan covering the entire coastal region of the Commonwealth. The Coastal Master Plan, in concert with other actions to better support local floodplain managers, will help reduce flood insurance rates by reducing risk. In addition, the Commonwealth will develop policies for addressing inland flooding.

Virginia Flood Awareness Week is being organized by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Virginia State Corporation Commission. For more information, visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/floodawareness.

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