Flood Facts


A flood is caused when large amounts of rain or melting snow cannot be absorbed into the ground, river, or stream.

Sometimes the rivers and streams are unable to hold the rain or melting snow simply because they are too full to hold it all.

Sometimes floods happen slowly over a period of days of steady rain or slowly melting snow.

Other floods happen quickly without much warning.

These are called flash floods

Flash floods can happen when too much rain comes too quickly or when the flow of a river or stream becomes blocked.

How much water does it take to cause a flood?

The amount of water it takes to cause a flood depends on how much water a river, stream, or another receptacle (container) can hold.

Example: If you were to put the plugin your bathtub, turn the water on and leave the room when the tub was filled, it would spill over and flood the bathroom.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

But if that same amount of water was dumped into a lake or river, you wouldn’t even notice.

How powerful is the water

It only takes about a foot of rushing water to be able to move a car and to push a car off a road.

This is why it is so important that you never drive, ride in a car, truck, bike or ATV if it is going to drive into the water.

It only takes 6 inches of water to knock a person off their feet and only 2 inches of water for someone to drown.

Fast-moving floodwaters have destroyed bridges, uprooted trees, and even washed entire houses away.

Floods kill more people each year than any other type of natural disaster.

Part of the reason for that is the fact that there are more floods than there are other kinds of natural disasters, but another reason is that people don’t take floods seriously.

They don’t believe the water is as powerful and dangerous as it is.

Not all flooding is bad

In some places, yearly flooding brings silt (soil that is filled with vitamins and minerals) onto fields used by farmers for raising different kinds of vegetables we eat.

When the floodwaters are gone, the silt stays to make the soil extra-rich for raising good food.

In other areas, flooding provides a way to collect water to be used throughout the year to water crops.



After the flood

We use water to wash our dishes, our clothes, and even our bodies; to get them clean.

But floodwaters are not clean.

They are filled with mud and grass and other trash.

This trash in floodwaters is called debris (da bree).

When the water dries up the debris is usually still there.

It usually takes a lot of hard work to clean it up.

Be careful

If you are ever in a place where there is a flood, stay OUT of the water. It is NEVER safe to go into a flooded area.

If you and your family know there is a chance your home will be flooded, you need to move to a safer place BEFORE the flood comes.

Take a few changes of clothes and all important papers, pets, medications, and other valuable items.

Put the things you cannot take into waterproof tubs and put them up as high as you can.

View of flooded New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina