Natural Disasters: Flooding

Did you know?

Here are a few interesting things you can share with your friends about floods.

  • In Australia, floods are the most expensive type of natural disaster with direct costs estimated over the period 1967-2005 averaging at $377 million per year (calculated in 2008 Australian dollars). 
  • Flood losses in the United States averaged $2.4 billion per year for the last decade. Floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States. 
  • A physically defined route (path) where water or run-off passes into an outlet or terminus. (Terminus can be the ocean or bigger water body) This includes rivers, creeks, tributaries, streams, or estuary. A waterway may be dry, but will soon be full of moving water when there are rains.
  • Peak water level/flood peak — The highest level that water in a waterway reaches during a flood. This is a measure of the size (or magnitude) of a flood.
  • Runoff – Each time there is more water on a piece of land than it can infiltrate the soil, the excess water will flow to find its level. The excess water flow is what we call ‘Runoff” Sometimes the rains come down heavily and the soil (or earth) cannot absorb the water quickly enough. This causes the rainwater to flow as a runoff.
  • Never swim or play around in floodwater. It may contain chemicals, bacteria, and disease-causing organisms. If your skin comes in contact with floodwater, make sure to wash it with soap and disinfected water because the contents are unknown.
  • Communities, particularly at risk, are those located in low-lying areas, near water, or downstream from a dam.
  • Based on Floodsmart, a 2,000 square foot home undergoing 12inches of water damage could cost more than $50,000.
  • Never drive into a flooded roadway or drive through flowing water because just 2 feet of water can float a large vehicle and sway it away.
  • Sometimes, local emergency officers can advise if there is a possibility of flood during rain or high tide at the shore. When this happens, they keep a close eye on events and inform the public about it. This is called a Flood Watch.
  • A flood warning is when an official announcement is given (by TV, Radio, Text Message or Phone, Email, or other means) of an impending flood or an already flood that has already occurred. A flood warning instructs people to move to higher ground or take immediate precautions to avoid drowning or to minimize property damage.
  • Levee: A manmade structure to contain or prevent water from moving past a certain point.

Our research for this topic included these sources:
www.nws.noaa.gov/hic/., www.damsafety.org/news/?p=412f29c8-3fd8-4529-b5c9-8d47364c1f3e., www.chiefscientist.qld.gov.au/publications/understanding-floods/consequences.aspx., www.floodsmart.gov/toolkits/spanish/downloads/english/facts-and-figures.pdf., www.esa.int/esaKIDSen/SEMD0LXJD1E_Earth_0.html