Areas at High Risk For Flooding

floodFloods are natural hazards. They occur practically anywhere in the world. However, there are areas that have higher risk of flooding.

Unfortunately, these areas are not uninhabited. Most of the times the places that are more likely to be flooded are residential areas. In the United States, for example, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated that about 10 million households in the country are located in areas that are more prone to flooding.

Part of the problem is located within the densely populated areas themselves. If you think big cities are not susceptible for flooding then you got it all wrong. It is not common that the construction of buildings, roads, parking spaces, and driveways contribute or rather prevent the ground from absorbing the water from rains. The water that is supposed to go to the ground is transformed into runoff which in huge quantities can result to something as devastating as a flash flood.

The same goes with sewerage or drainage systems. As heavy rains pour in, canals, storm drains or sewers get flooded and spill out on the roads and into houses and buildings. In cities, expect lower areas like underpasses, underground garages and even basements as the most likely places where the water can enter. It is sad that city planners and engineers fail to take into consideration the amount of runoff and the degree of clogging their infrastructure can create.

Outside the densely populated cities and communities, areas that are more likely to experience flooding include those near rivers, creaks or even streams, for obvious reasons. Sudden rainfall can make small streams into raging rivers and rivers into oceans.

Often people living near such water ways construct levees or embankments to prevent the water from rising rivers to overflow and flood their communities. However, there are times when embankments fail. Either the water has risen considerably high that it goes above walls of the embankment or the raging waters smash through the levees and destroy the man-made structures. Understand that the embankments are the only line of defense communities along rivers have against river floods.

Although it is not my intention to scare people living near or beneath dams, but they also are in threat of being flooded. Sometimes dams need to let off water from the reservoir or it is in the danger of bursting.

The water released from the dam may be too much for canals, spillways and flood ways to handle. Communities may find themselves in knee deep of dam water. They will be in a lot worse if the dam totally failed. When dams break, the sudden surge of water coming downstream have enough destructive power to destroy whole villages, towns and even cities.

Other areas that are more prone to flooding are those situated below mountains and steep hills. The hills can produce rapid runoff especially if it is as bare as rock. Trees would aid in the absorption of rainfall. Rocks and clay soils, on the contrary, will prevent water from being absorbed by the ground. So careful where you build your homes.

Also, areas that have lots of ice jams and snowmelt are more likely to experience minimal to massive flooding. One deadly combination that you should look out for is melting snow and warm rain. These two can easily lift and break the ice that are on the surface of streams and rivers.

Once the ice layer has been broken, the chunks can of ice can block water ways and exit points. This creates an artificial dam causing the water level on one side to rise up to a point where it can cause some serious flash floods.

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