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.Continue Reading
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.Learn more about Storms
Rains, overflowing rivers, ruptured dams, and melting water from snow and ice may all result in flooding that produces harmful economic and environmental effects. Tsunamis, earthquakes and even strong tidal flows may also result in floods. Widespread flooding and severe flash floods can produce significant casualties and pose a serious threat to both human and wildlife populations.Full Answer >
Thunderstorms cause hail when strong winds push raindrops upward into the atmosphere where the extremely cold air supercools the water and causes it to freeze into spheres of ice. This can occur several times, with balls of ice falling and then being lifted by updrafts, collecting condensation as they go. This results in a distinct layering in hailstones each time a layer of liquid water freezes on the surface.Full Answer >
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.Full Answer >
The National Weather Service measures floods using stream gauges in key locations across the country. During times of flooding, they measure how high the water has risen above the gauges to determine flood levels.Full Answer >