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An Introduction to Floods
By Sarah Anderson
Floods are the most frequent type of disaster worldwide. It can strike anywhere and anytime. Although floods can be predicted, they often cause massive damage and destruction of property as most urban communities are located near water sources such as coasts and rivers.
Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.
However, not all floods are alike. While some floods develop slowly, sometimes over a period of days, flash floods develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain.
What is a Flood?
In plain English, a flood is an excess of water or mud on land that is normally dry. A flood is a condition that occurs when water overflows the artificial or natural boundaries of a stream, river, or other body of water onto normally dry land. Floods often happen due to heavy rainfall or thawing snow.
- Your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, compared to a 9% chance of fire.
- The average annual US flood losses in the years 1996-2005 was more than $2.4 billion.
- Since 1978, the NFIP has paid $26.3 billion for 697,912 flood insurance claims and related costs.
- In the last 30 years, inland flooding has been responsible for more than half the deaths associated with tropical cyclones in the United States.