What Happens During a Flood

Simpsons flood GIF

Ever wonder why your street’s gutters flood during some rainstorms and not others? Since people hate being oppressed by unruly water, cities create and manage water systems to help water drain away from population centers and reduce flooding, but sometimes circumstances overwhelm the system.

The exact mechanics of flooding vary depending on the source of the excess water, whether it’s heavy rain, storm surge, river blockage, or something else. Natural drainage systems like rivers and creeks are able to handle large amounts of water and often prevent flooding, but heavy rainfall can cause water levels to rise beyond their banks. Manmade systems like storm drains can have the same problem.

Depending on the storm, a flood may not cause any inconvenience, but even a small amount of overflow is needed to create serious issues. Flood waters can rise rapidly and create dangerous conditions in minutes. Unfortunately, people often misjudge flood dangers. A mere six inches of floodwater can move with enough force to knock down a grown adult, and twelve inches is enough to lift up and carry away a vehicle. People can easily drown when they attempt to evacuate through rising waters. Do not mess around when it comes to floods.

Because water is an incredibly aggressive predator, floods can also cause structural damage, displace wildlife, and collect contaminants and hazardous debris to further increase risks to your life and property. And it’s hard to know when they’ll end. Floods can last for hours, days, or even weeks before water levels return to normal.

Now that you’re fired up about floods and champing at the bit for some prep instructions, let’s talk about who is most at risk.

Flooded street
Give us that sweet, sweet preparation information.

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Katherine Esperanza is a Los Angeles based writer. When she's not conjuring new queer slice-of-life short stories, she's busy watching the newest films, out at queer shows, supporting queer artists, or just checking out the queer community as a whole.

A former international non-profiteer, small business owner, and co-op'er, Katherine is delighted to help introduce more leftist politics into the disaster preparedness/prepper sphere, which is currently far too right-wing.