A flood is a type of natural disaster. The definition of a flood is when an overflow of water flows onto land that is usually dry.

How Do Floods Form?

Floods can happen in a variety of different ways. The most common: heavy rainfall. When the area is in a low pressure system (cloudy), precipitation (most likely sleet, rain, and snow) falls into an area of water. Let's take a river, for example. When the river receives too much of that precipitation, it overflows. And when it overflows, it has to go somewhere. This is how a city may flood. The water flows onto the flat streets, and overruns the town. If it is a long river, (i.e. the Mississippi river) it may result as a huge flood because it goes through so many states.

A flood may also happen when...

  • Dams or levees break
  • When ocean waves come on shore (most likely a tsunami)
  • Heavy rainfall
  • Large portions of melted snow

Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 -
88 Years Ago

  • Property cost - 350 million dollars (5 billion dollars in our economy)
  • 130,000 homes were lost
  • 246 flood related deaths in several states

Cedar Rapids flood of 2008 -
7 Years ago

  • Property cost - 500 million dollars (in our economy)
  • 18,000 homes were lost
  • 24 deaths and 148 injuries were reported

What We Are Doing The Total Impact of Flooding

Scientists have been working hard at inventing new ways to reduce damage, scientifically and generally.

General ideas include:

A disaster kit. Disaster kits have been an idea throughout history, but experts have given us exactly what to "pack" during a flood. Items include a flashlight, batteries, a battery powered radio, enough water to last for about 3 days, non perishable food, clothing, and blankets.

Other ideas include moving your furnace, water heater, and electric panel to higher floors if in a highly flooded area.

Make sure your basement doesn't have any huge cracks in the walls, because then water could get in a lot easier. Use any type of seal, like waterproofing compound.

Scientific inventions include:

Check valves. Check valves are a type of plug that you install in your sewer traps to prevent flood water backing up into your drains.

Scientists use satellites to predict floods and where they will happen. A satellite is a type of machine that gets sent up into outer space. It then can see what is happening up above and the scientists below have access to the information by using an electronic device, whether it's an iPad or a computer.

Airborne lasers. The "LiDAR laser scanner" is attached to an aircraft. As the aircraft flies over the specified area, it can predict later changes that might happen in the shoreline.

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