flash-floods information  for kids

what is flooding

What causes flooding
The three kinds of flooding
Areas liable to flooding
Problems caused by floods
Flooding preparation checklist
How to prevent floods
Flooding factsheet




What causes flooding?

Here are a few events that can cause flooding:

flood lessonsRains

Each time there are more rains than the drainage system can take, there can be floods. Sometimes, there is heavy rain for a very short period that result in floods. In other times, there may be light rain for many days and weeks and can also result in floods.

flood lessonsRiver overflow
Rivers can overflow their banks to cause flooding. This happens when there is more water upstream than usual, and as it flows downstream to the adjacent low-lying areas (also called a floodplain), there is a burst and water gets into the land.

flood lessonsHurricanes, Strong winds in coastal areas
Sea water can be carried by massive winds and hurricanes onto dry coastal lands and cause flooding. Sometimes this is made worse if the winds carry rains themselves. Sometimes water from the sea resulting from a tsunami can flow inland to cause damage.

Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina USA, September 14, 2018
A massive North Atlantic Hurricane that covered a distance of about 6,500km made landfall. The hurricane was an unusually slow-moving one, and stayed over that location for a long time, with non-stop rains. This led to catastrophic flooding, as the land was already saturated from the wet summer. Communities such as Wilmington were cut off. More than 40 people died from the hurricane and massive destruction of homes and infrastructure occurred.

flood lessonsDam breaking (raptured dam or levee) (Embankments, known as levees, are built along the side of a river and are used to prevent high water from flooding bordering land)
Dams are man-made blocks mounted to hold water flowing down from a highland. The power in the water is used to turn propellers to generate electricity. Sometimes, too much water held up in the dam can cause it to break and overflow the area. Excess water can also be intentionally released from the dam to prevent it from breaking and that can also cause floods.
February 26, 1972 - Buffalo Creek Valley, West Virginia 
The failure of a coal-waste impoundment at the valley’s head took 125 lives, and caused more than $400 million in damages, including destruction of over 500 homes.  http://www.damsafety.org/news/?p=412f29c8-3fd8-4529-b5c9-8d47364c1f3e

flood lessonsIce and snow-melts
In many cold regions, heavy snow over the winter usually stays un-melted for sometime. There are also mountains that have ice on top of them. Sometimes the ice suddenly melts when the temperature rises, resulting in massive movement of water into places that are usually dry. This is usually called a snowmelt flood

More on floods for children
1. CEDIM Forensic Disaster Analysis "Hurricane Florence 2018 (USA)" Short Report.
Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/
_2018_USA_Short_Report [accessed Oct 23 2018].