A Guide to Natural Disasters: Floods
By Michelle Dong
Floods are the most common natural disaster worldwide and the deadliest in the U.S. Floods are defined as a temporary “overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry” according to NOAA. They can occur anywhere that receives rain and are mainly caused by coastal storms, heavy rains, and overflowing of rivers. Flash floods are the most dangerous type of floods as they are unpredictable and very destructive as a result of rapidly rising water levels in a short period of time. Areas most at risk from flash floods in particular include densely populated urban areas, river beds, coastal areas, and areas near dams/levees. Monsoon floods are especially destructive, specifically in South Asia – the 2017 summer monsoons from June to September directly impacted the lives of at least 41 million people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
However, flooding of any degree can cause lasting impacts on daily life. Six inches of moving water can cause you to fall, and a foot of water can sweep cars away. Be wary of debris and mold, and make sure to limit contact with flood water as it may be dangerously contaminated. Power lines may fall during or after a flood, so do not use electric appliances or drive through still water because you will probably get electrocuted. See the attached infographic for more information on dos and don’ts in the occurrence of a flood.