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Flood Facts

Flooding is when large amounts of water cover an area that is usually dry. Floods can happen in rivers, streams, lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water. They can also happen in cities when sewers and drains can’t handle the heavy rain.

When a flood happens, it can cause a lot of damage to people’s homes, businesses, and other property. It can also cause injuries and even death.

Floods can be caused by heavy rains, snow melting quickly, storms, or even a dam or levee breaking. There are also things that people can do to help prevent flooding, like building levees, dams, and other structures to control the flow of water.

Floods can be very dangerous, so if you live in an area that is prone to flooding, it’s important to know what to do in case of a flood. Make sure you know where the nearest high ground is, and always follow the instructions of local authorities in case of an emergency.

Flood facts for Kids

  • A flood is caused by too much rain or overflowing rivers.
  • Floods can damage homes, businesses, and even entire cities.
  • Flash floods can occur very quickly and without warning, making them especially dangerous.
  • They can also cause landslides, which can cause even more damage.
  • Floods can happen suddenly, or they can take days to develop.
  • Flooding can also contaminate drinking water, making it unsafe to drink.
  • Flood damage can cost millions of dollars.
  • 90% of natural disasters in the United States involve flooding and flood damage 

Flash Flooding

Flash flooding caused by heavy rains is a serious problem that can cause significant damage to both property and life. Flash flooding occurs when a large amount of rain falls in a short period of time, often in just a few hours.

This causes water to rapidly accumulate in low-lying areas, often resulting in flooding of roads, homes, and businesses. It can be especially dangerous in areas with poor drainage and can occur even in areas that don’t usually experience flooding.

Flash flooding can occur during any type of storm but is especially common during hurricanes and other strong storms. It can also occur as a result of snowmelt or when a dam or levee breaks. It’s a particular concern in urban areas, where the pavement and buildings can cause the water to accumulate quickly.

This type of flooding is especially dangerous because it often comes with little to no warning. The water can reach dangerous levels in a matter of minutes, making it difficult to evacuate an area or take other safety measures.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

The force of the water can also cause significant damage to buildings, roads, and bridges, as well as cause significant injury or death to people and animals caught in its path.

To reduce the risk of flash flooding, it is important to take steps to ensure that drainage systems are functioning properly. It is also important to stay informed about the weather and be prepared to take action if a flash flooding situation is expected.

Additionally, it is important to avoid driving or walking through flood waters, as this can be extremely dangerous.

Types of Floods

River Floods

River Floods

Rivers are a flood risk and are the most common type of flood, typically occurring when a river overflows its banks. When a river floods, the excess water can cause damage to homes, roads, and bridges in its path. River floods can also contaminate drinking water sources and cause landslides, sinkholes, and other geological hazards.

Groundwater Floods

Groundwater Floods

Groundwater floods occur when the water table rises, and the water is no longer able to be contained in the ground. This kind of flooding can happen naturally, but it is often made worse by things people do, like cutting down trees or building cities. Floods caused by groundwater can damage buildings’ foundations, contaminate groundwater sources, and cause soil to wash away.

Coastal Floods

Coastal Floods

Coastal floods are caused by rising sea levels due to climate change or extreme weather events. Coastal floods can be particularly destructive, as they can cause property damage, contaminate drinking water sources, and lead to coastal erosion.

Flash Floods

Flash Floods

Flash floods occur when heavy rain falls in a short period of time, resulting in a rapid rise in water levels. This type of flooding can be extremely dangerous, as the water can move quickly and cause significant damage. Flash floods can also cause landslides and contaminate drinking water sources.

Sewage Floods

Sewage Floods

Sewage floods occur when there is a backup in the sewer system, usually due to an excess of water or debris. This type of flooding can be extremely hazardous, as it can cause serious contamination of drinking water sources. Sewage floods can also damage buildings and roads and cause landslides and sinkholes.

The impact of Flooding

Floods can be extremely powerful due to a variety of reasons.

  • They can cause immense damage to infrastructure and property, including roads, bridges, buildings, and other structures.
  • They can also cause displacement of people from their homes, leading to loss of livelihoods and disruption of daily routines.
  • They can cause significant environmental damage, including soil erosion, contamination of water sources, and damage to vegetation.
  • They can cause diseases and health problems due to the spread of contaminated water and inadequate sanitation.
  • They can have a major economic impact, as they can result in high costs for relief, reconstruction, and economic losses.

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.

Chemicals can be carried by floods

Floods can also carry harmful chemicals that can put people and animals at risk. Floodwaters can contain sewage, oil and gas, industrial pollutants, and agricultural pesticides, all of which can be hazardous to human health.

Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of these contaminants because their bodies are still developing, and their immune systems are not as strong as those of adults. It is important for kids to be aware of the risks associated with floodwaters and to take steps to protect themselves.

The most effective way to protect children from the harmful effects of floodwaters is to avoid contact with floodwater. Kids should not play in or near floodwaters, as they could come into contact with contaminated water. If a child must enter floodwaters, they should wear protective clothing and use boots or waders to keep them dry. It is also important to clean any items that may have been exposed to floodwaters, such as toys or clothing, before using them.

What are Floodplains

Floodplains are areas of land located along rivers and streams that are prone to flooding. They are a vital part of the hydrological cycle and provide many important ecological, economic, and cultural services to people and wildlife alike.

The most important benefit of floodplains is their ability to store and slowly release floodwaters. During heavy rain events or snowmelt, floodwaters are temporarily stored in the floodplain, reducing the flood peak downstream and mitigating the impacts of flooding.

This helps to protect infrastructure and people while providing ecosystems with water during drier times. In addition, floodplains help to filter and cleanse water as it slowly moves through them, reducing water pollution.

Floodplains are Important

Floodplains are also important for their role in supporting biodiversity. They provide important habitats for a variety of fish, birds, and other wildlife, and some species rely on floodplains exclusively for their habitats. Floodplains are also important for providing recreational opportunities for people, such as fishing, bird-watching, and canoeing.

Floodplains can also be important for agricultural production. They provide moisture for crops, and the nutrients and sediment that are brought in during floods can help to improve soil fertility and support crop production.

Floodplain Drawbacks

However, there are some drawbacks to floodplains. They can be very unpredictable in terms of flooding, and flooding can cause significant damage to infrastructure, crops, and homes. Additionally, floodplain development can have significant negative impacts on wildlife and ecosystems.

Overall, floodplains are an essential part of the hydrological cycle and provide many important benefits to both people and wildlife. In order to ensure that these benefits are maintained, it is important to manage floodplains in a sustainable way that takes into account the needs of both humans and wildlife.

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.