How Do Floods Form: The Science and Dangers

There are very few areas in the world where flooding isn’t a concern. Not even mountainous regions are resistant to the devastation of floods. Where there is rain, floods can easily follow. Floods are among the leading causes of global deaths. Flash floods can hit without warning, taking thousands of lives and costing nations billions of dollars in damage repairs. The complexity of the dangers of floods can be better understood through scientific research. Understanding the facts and science behind the formation of floods allows for a greater understanding of just how dangerous these natural disasters can be. 

Here’s what you need to know:

1. How Do Floods Form?

By definition, a flood is an overflow of water beyond it’s normal confines, covering a stretch of dry land. Floods submerge what is typically dry land under a mass of water. The science of a flood begins with the water cycle. The water cycle allows for continuous evaporation, condensation, and precipitation of clouds. When clouds become to cold and heavy, they fall down on a locale as rain. Small amounts of rain are not a problem, but when the rain is consistent, strong, and torrential it can become a problem. These types of violent rains is what often leads to natural disasters, flood damage, and the need for flood damage restoration.

Where Does Flooding Occur?

Different places feel the effects of floods differently, but there are many commonalities within the locations effected. One commonality is the presence of a large body of water nearby. When consistent or strong rains occur, these bodies of water tend to overflow and full up lower lying areas. When this happens, water spills into roads and trails. The lower-lying areas work as a basin, accumulating as much water flow as possible. This leads to flooding, increasing in height as more water rushes in. 

While floods are more common in areas with bodies of water, they can still occur without a present body of water. Different geolocations have varying heights, even in the same town, every area will have different terrain elevations. Terrain elevation is crucial in floods. Stormwater goes to lower areas, streaming to such places until they are filled up. Once filled up, it will stream towards similar low-lying areas. The varying terrain elevation is a crucial factor in flood occurrences, meaning that when rain starts pouring- floods can happen regardless of your geography. This can cause heavy storm damage to your home.

2. Why Do Floods Happen?

The first factor in flood occurrences is the local source of water. Excessive rainfall, a damaged dam, or snow melting too quickly are all events that can result in floods. The movement of excess water can overwhelm local bodies of water, and spread inland towards floodplains or coastlines. Many floods require a bit of time to form and rise, however floods that come from dams do not require this time. Tsunami’s or dam overflows result in a concurrent flash flood.

Another key factor is your general area, since many areas in the world are lower in height than others. Water flows through connected areas, which results in the heavy outflow of water from high places to low places. This is why the most flood-prone areas are locales near dams and at the bottom of tall landforms, such as mountains. These places are the typical victims of flash floods, which are very dangerous and occur with no prior warning. 

The last factor is climate change.  No matter what position you hold on the issue, the effect of climate change is increasing the sea levels. The increase in sea levels has a trickle-down effect on the global ecosystem. Chronic flooding is happening in flood plains and costal areas. Cities such as Venice and many US cities will experience more flood-risks due to this rise in water levels. Costal communities are at the highest risk of danger, because the higher the water goes the more land areas it will begin to claim.

3. How Dangerous Are Floods?

Floods are among the most lethal and damaging natural disasters in the world. Flood damages and repairs cost around $40 Billion worldwide per year. The US alone experiences as much as $8 Billion in damages and insurance repairs. Many flood-related property damages stem from the mud and silt build up on said properties, which can wreak destruction. Along with the cost of damages, flood-related deaths are also increasing. Yearly, more than 100 people die as an effect of floods. Other dangers associated with floods is their contribution to excess water contamination. Pollutants and man-made objects tend to contaminate locales with various harmful materials- such as shattered debris and untreated sewage that can directly contribute to diseases in the general area. 

4. What Can We Do About Floods?

Unfortunately there is no magical cure-all for floods. However, contributing and helping to alleviate climate change can aid future generations. Consistent preparation is something that can be done regarding floods that can effect the here and now. Ensuring you have a bug out bag so you can evacuate in a moments notice. Once the water level starts rising, move furniture and other important possessions to the upper levels of your home. If you notice the telltale signs of flooding, consider relocating your family, pets, and livestock somewhere safe. For those living in a flood-prone area, it is wise to get insurance as it can help you rebuild any damages your home incurs. In the event your property is damaged or destroyed, you should hire a reputable contractor to perform water damage restoration to your residence or business. 

Knowing How Floods Form Is Vital to Survival

Having an understanding of how floods form is a key factor leading to successful preparation and survival. Knowing what distinguishes as dangerous can help you make the right choices in a moment’s notice. As a rule-of-thumb, you should remember that if it seems dangerous you should evacuate as soon as possible, and secure all things necessary for a rebuild. If your property is affected by a flood, it is difficult to bounce back. Which is why you need a team that can help get you rebuilt, and back up and running as soon as possible. 

That is where we come in to help!

Get in touch and learn more about how we can help you. Don’t let flood damage keep you down. We’ll make sure you’re back on your feet in no time.