Why do floods occur?
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Q:

Why do floods occur?

A:

Quick Answer

Floods occur when the ground is incapable of absorbing water from rainfall, melting snow or ice. Each spring, many regions experience warmer temperatures along with heavy precipitation. This is the ideal combination for flooding. If the ground has not completely thawed, it is even more likely to flood as there is no place for the water to drain.

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Full Answer

Flash floods occur when there is a high accumulation of water in a low-lying area within a period of six hours. These flooding events are potentially dangerous as they often result in swift-moving water knocking down trees and wiping out bridges and buildings. While flash floods happen with the collapse of a dam or other water-containing structure, they typically happen following large rainstorms.

The Pacific Ocean sends heavy rainfall to the West Coast during the winter months. The East Coast and southern United States tend to see more flooding during the summer months as moisture and warm air from the Atlantic Ocean blow inland.

Both the southeastern United States and the East Coast are vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes that carry the potential for flooding. In fact, sometimes hurricanes and tropical storms cause flooding in inland communities as well as coastal cities.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    When do floods occur?

    A:

    Floods occur when the volume of water contained by the shores of a body of water or the banks of a waterway exceeds the body's capacity. The water moves above and outward from the typical area it occupies. The major causes of floods are heavy rains, melting snow or a blockage of water flow in a river.

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  • Q:

    Where do floods occur in the world?

    A:

    Floods can occur in any area of the world that experiences rainfall, but areas with many bodies of water are at a higher risk. Flooding can also occur when excessive rainfall hits land that is dry. The flood occurs because the land cannot take in all of the water.

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  • Q:

    How long do floods last?

    A:

    The duration of floods can last from several hours to months at a time. The period of a flood is dependent on factors including rainfall rate time span, soil and ground conditions, and topography.

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  • Q:

    How do floods start?

    A:

    According to NOAA, most floods start with slow-moving thunderstorms, thunderstorms that travel the same path several days in a row, or hurricanes. Floating debris and ice sometimes form a temporary dam which causes the water to back up until the debris breaks free, releasing a wall of water and causing flooding downstream.

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