What is a flood?

A flood is an overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods can happen all over the world and at any time of year.


What causes a flood?

Floods happen when there is too much water for the ground to absorb or drain away.

Floods can be caused by:
- Rivers overflowing after heavy rainfall.
- Heavy winds pushing the sea on to the coast.
- Volcanic eruptions under the sea which cause tsunamis.

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What is a flash flood?

A flash flood is a quick flood. Huge amounts of water overflow onto the land in a short amount of time without much warning. Flash floods can be caused by thunderstorms, hurricanes or an extreme river flood.


Why are floods dangerous?

- If a flood is very big it can cover the roads making it difficult to travel by land and for people to escape. 
- Floods can destroy crops.
- Floods can knock down power lines making people lose electricity in their homes.
- People are at risk of drowning during floods.
- Floods can destroy bridges, uproot trees and damage buildings.



When a flood happens, people need to move to higher ground. When people leave their homes and search for a safer place it’s called evacuation.

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Can floods be stopped?

Today, scientists can predict where a flood is most likely to happen, but there is nothing they can do to stop them. Areas near the coast can build big walls to prevent tidal waves from reaching the shore.

Some floods happen quickly and are not expected. When this happens, rescue teams often have to save people that are trapped on the roofs of houses.


Did you know?

  • The deadliest flood happened when the Yellow River in China flooded in 1931. More than 2 million people died.
  • Water from floods is often dirty and people can get very sick if they drink it.
  • The ancient Egyptians relied on the flooding of the Nile because the floods brought rich soil which was good for farming.
  • If snow from mountains melts too fast it can cause floods.