What is a flood?
Floods occur when large amount of water overflows over dry land. They may result from prolonged or very heavy rainfall, severe thunderstorms, monsoon rains, or tropical cyclones. People, who live near rivers, or in low-lying coastal areas, live with the greatest threat of floods.
Common types of flooding
- Slow onset floods
- Rapid onset floods
- Flash floods
Usually, a reasonable warning period is possible except in case of flash floods.
Common terms used by the meteorological department to describe the warnings for flooding are as:
- Minor flooding: Causes inconvenience, closing small roads and low-level bridges.
- Moderate Flooding: Low-lying areas inundated, requiring removal of stock, equipment and evacuation of isolated homes. Main road and rail bridges may be covered.
- Major flooding: Higher areas inundated, towns and properties isolated, and extensive damage.
- Local flooding: Intense rainfall, some high run-off, but usually no flooding in main streams;
- Significant river rises: This warning is issued if it is not certain that the initial flood levels will be exceeded in the main streams. It makes people aware that appreciable rises are expected.
After a Flood
The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:
- Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Avoid moving water.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
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