Humans cause and exacerbate flooding due to urban development, destruction of natural wetlands and deforestation. Urban development causes water runoff into streams during heavy rain, and this runoff causes higher flood peaks and more frequent floods. Levee systems, instead of natural wetlands, cause more devastating floods during peak floods along river basins such as the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
Runoff into urban streams empty into larger rivers, and these urban streams have limited capacities to move floodwaters properly. Floods are faster, higher and stronger in urban streams during heavy rainfall. Debris carried from city streets clogs waterways and increases the depth of floodwaters upstream of the clog. City planners can increase the number of channels through which the water flows to decrease the heights and speeds of floods.
Hard surfaces such as roads, parking lots, concrete, slanted roofs, drains and sewers move water quickly to more natural channels. When floodwaters pass over river banks, these natural systems erode and cause even more devastation. Rivers that do not have trees and natural vegetation flood and erode more quickly than those with plant life.
Decreasing levee systems, and increasing natural wetlands, lowers water levels along huge river basins during times of heavy rain. Floodwaters spread out over a wider area, but water levels are lower and slower compared to artificial, levee-based systems.Learn More
The weight of the fallen snow during a blizzard may collapse roofs or bring down trees, power lines or telephone lines. The snow also may result in dangerous driving and whiteout conditions, leading motorists to get into accidents or to become lost or stranded. Blizzards may bring extremely cold temperatures, which increase the risk of frostbite. Cold temperatures can also cause water pipes to freeze.Full Answer >
Damage from typhoons includes landslides and mudslides; heavy flooding; destruction of vehicles, buildings, roads and bridges; shipwrecks; power outages and human injury and death. Many people sustain injuries or die due to flying debris, collapsed buildings, flooding, mudslides and landslides, and storm surges.Full Answer >
According to infoplease, tornadoes can cause very minimal damage, such as ripping siding off of homes, to catastrophic damage, which can literally lift homes off their foundations. The type and severity of tornadoes are classified using the Fujita scale. On this scale, tornadoes are rated from F0 to F5, with F5 being the most dangerous and deadly.Full Answer >
Hurricane Bertha caused an estimated $250 million to $270 million in total damage. Most of the damage caused by the hurricane occurred in North Carolina.Full Answer >