There are few places on Earth where people need not be concerned about flooding. Any place where rain falls is vulnerable, although rain is not the only impetus for flood.
A flood occurs when water overflows or inundates land that’s normally dry. This can happen in a multitude of ways. Most common is when rivers or streams overflow their banks. Excessive rain, a ruptured dam or levee, rapid ice melting in the mountains, or even an unfortunately placed beaver dam can overwhelm a river and send it spreading over the adjacent land, called a floodplain. Coastal flooding occurs when a large storm or tsunami causes the sea to surge inland.
Most floods take hours or even days to develop, giving residents ample time to prepare or evacuate. Others generate quickly and with little warning. These flash floods can be extremely dangerous, instantly turning a babbling brook into a thundering wall of water and sweeping everything in its path downstream.
Disaster experts classify floods according to their likelihood of occurring in a given time period. A hundred-year flood, for example, is an extremely large, destructive event that would theoretically be expected to happen only once every century. But this is a theoretical number. In reality, this classification means there is a one-percent chance that such a flood could happen in any given year. Over recent decades, possibly due to global climate change, hundred-year floods have been occurring worldwide with frightening regularity.
Moving water has awesome destructive power. When a river overflows its banks or the sea drives inland, structures poorly equipped to withstand the water’s strength are no match. Bridges, houses, trees, and cars can be picked up and carried off. The erosive force of moving water can drag dirt from under a building’s foundation, causing it to crack and tumble.
In the United States, where flood mitigation and prediction is advanced, floods do about $6 billion worth of damage and kill about 140 people every year. A 2007 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that coastal flooding alone does some $3 trillion in damage worldwide. In China’s Yellow River valley, where some of the world’s worst floods have occurred, millions of people have perished in floods during the last century.
When floodwaters recede, affected areas are often blanketed in silt and mud. The water and landscape can be contaminated with hazardous materials, such as sharp debris, pesticides, fuel, and untreated sewage. Potentially dangerous mold blooms can quickly overwhelm water-soaked structures. Residents of flooded areas can be left without power and clean drinking water, leading to outbreaks of deadly waterborne diseases like typhoid, hepatitis A, and cholera.
Source: National Geographic
Posts Related to Floods
These are the states most prone to natural disasters, along with a short list of common or notable disasters affecting these states since 1953. 11: Oregon Major disasters since 1953: 79 Earthquakes, high waves / tsunamis 10. Louisiana Major disasters since 1953: 79...read more
Emergencies happen every single day, more so in today's world than quite possibly at any other time in history. As a result, "Prepping" or preparing for the worst -- often referred to as SHTF -- has become a popular way of life. Preparation is not something that...read more
As we've discussed before, warm weather can bring an increased risk in flooding under certain circumstances. Fortunately, as with all major disasters, there are ways you can protect yourself and your family and survive a flood. What You Need to Survive a Flood To...read more
Since we're now just about two weeks away from the first official day of spring, we thought it would be a great idea to touch on one of the most common springtime disasters that are sure to come with it: flooding. Flooding results from the heavy rains, rapid snowmelt,...read more