Flood Causes


4 min read · Dec 5, 2021

Flooding is witnessed across the world and is the #1 natural disaster in the U.S. and worldwide – but what causes floods & what are the different types of flooding?

The effects of floods are devastating. Let’s look at the most common natural and man-made flood causes.

Heavy Rains

Regardless of where you reside, you are encircled by systems and infrastructures intended to drain rainwater into basins and reservoirs. The system does its work most of the time, and you never have to worry about where the water goes when it pours.

However, when it rains severely, such systems become overburdened, and the water does not drain as rapidly as it should. In brief, drainage systems become clogged, and water rises – occasionally into residences. This is usually only seen after there has been an extended period of heavy rain.

Overflowing Rivers

Flooding in your region does not always have to be caused by heavy rainfall. For instance, if you live by a river and places upstream from you suffer intense rainfall, it might cause a significant overflow where you live. Most big rivers have many dams to assist manage huge quantities of rainfall, and government bodies regulate the majority of river systems.

However, those authorities are often forced to make difficult judgments regarding how to run dams. They can frequently regulate the water and prevent floods, but not always.

Damaged Dams

Much of the USA’s infrastructure was developed in the 1900s, and it is beginning to show its age. When heavy rains fall and water levels go up, aged dams might break, dumping cascades of water on unprepared residents.

This is what occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. The failure of the levees exacerbated the flooding significantly more than it might have been normally. While we have grown to rely on twentieth-century architecture, and most of it performs a good job, there’s still the potential that a structure could collapse.

City Drainage Basins

Most of our cities are constructed primarily of concrete as well as other waterproof materials. When a city drainage basin is composed of concrete, there’s no soil for water to soak into. As a result, when such drainage basins load up, low-lying regions will flood.

This is especially true in major cities like Los Angeles and Houston. When severe rains fall, the basins meant to drain them are often overwhelmed.

Tsunamis and Storm Surges

When it comes to floods, rain isn’t always to blame. Storm surges from hurricanes and other cyclones, as well as tsunamis triggered by undersea earthquakes, can create considerable flooding.

Thanks to modern technologies, we typically know about tsunamis and storm surges before they come, but that’s not usually the case. For instance, in 2004, a quake off the Indonesia coast caused a tsunami that came onshore with little notice.

Reservoirs, Rivers, and Lakes with Slanted Sides

Flooding is common when there is rapid runoff into reservoirs, rivers, and lakes. This is frequently the scenario with rivers as well as other canals with steep banks.

Lack of Vegetation

By reducing runoff, trees, bushes, and other vegetation assist in averting floods. Water flows are unrestrained when there is minimal vegetation, like in an arid area or during a drought. A flash flood can occur as a result of strong rainfall following a drought. Luckily, basins and reservoirs can usually prevent this. Flash floods may be fatal in regions where there is no way to redirect the water.

Melting Snow

Most people living close to mountains are braced for spring floods, which occur as ice melts and generates ever-larger torrents that pour down the mountain. They know that if there is a lot more snow than usual, they should expect higher than usual water levels and perhaps floods.

The average coverage claim following a flood in 2017, the year of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, was $82,459. The following year, there was also a lot of flooding. Residents living 200 miles from the coast were flooded as a result of the Hurricane Florence rains. Many people did not anticipate being flooded and did not have flood insurance.

Could you afford to rebuild your home and replace all your belongings? Neptune Flood offers peace of mind from the unexpected. If you live in a designated flood zone, your mortgage holder requires flood insurance. However, as happened this year, devastating floods can happen in areas where flooding isn’t anticipated. Also, many homeowners with no mortgages don’t carry flood insurance.
Get a flood insurance quote from Neptune Flood in less than two minutes. Discover how affordable it is. Knowing you’re covered will let you sleep at night.

Original article published November 2018. Updated content and references December 2021.