Flood Awareness Week is March 13-19

Published 8:33 am Thursday, March 17, 2022

Flood Awareness Week, March 13-19, is a time for Virginians to learn about flood risk and protect their homes and property with flood insurance ahead of spring rains and hurricane season.

Flood Awareness Week builds on a number of initiatives aimed at bolstering the commonwealth’s resilience to hazardous events such as extreme weather, storm surge and recurrent flooding.

The Virginia Flood Risk Information System, available through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, allows Virginians to identify their property’s flood risk.

DCR is the state agency that coordinates flood-protection activities. It also helps communities comply with requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program, which gives residents — regardless of flood zone — the ability to purchase federally-backed flood insurance.

“Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster. It’s not an ‘if’ – it’s a ‘when,’ and we want Virginians to be protected,” said acting DCR Director Frank Stovall. “Flood Awareness Week is a great time for citizens to review their insurance policies and make sure they have the coverage they need before the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30. Floods, not winds, are the biggest threat from hurricanes,” Stovall added.

Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover damage from floods, surface water or storm surges. Only 3% of Virginians have flood insurance, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. 

“A flood can happen quickly and cause considerable damage. Prepare early to protect your home and personal property. Determine your flood risk and consider a flood insurance policy,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “The State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance reminds Virginians that flood insurance is not included in the standard homeowner policy. Consumers should reach out to the National Flood Insurance Program or consult a local insurance agent to inquire about this coverage.”

Nearly 90% of Virginia communities participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. Flood insurance may also be available through private insurers.

Darryl Glover, DCR’s deputy director for Dam Safety, Floodplain Management and Soil and Water Conservation, said, “It is important for Virginians to know DCR is their partner in flood preparedness. We understand that communities need knowledge, tools and both financial and technical assistance in order to protect themselves from the increased threat that floods present across the commonwealth. Our Flood Awareness Week website offers fact sheets, a cost calculator and a risk-assessment tool. I urge people to use them as a first step to learn more.”

To further spotlight this issue, DCR has partnered with Art Works in Richmond to sponsor a juried, all-media exhibition on flood awareness. Works by 25 artists will be on view in the gallery through March 19 and may also be viewed online.