Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963893 | Print ISBN: 9781412958783 | Online ISBN: 9781412963893 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Heather K. Michon
A FLOOD IS the intrusion of water into normally dry land. While floods are a natural part of the ecological cycle and have some benefits for the health of the biosphere as a whole, flooding has always been one of the most devastating types of natural disasters for humans, responsible for thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in property damage each year. Climate change is expected to increase the risk of flooding for people around the world, both by raising global sea levels and increasing severe inland flooding events. Flash flooding is most commonly caused by heavy rainfall over a short period of time, from a tropical system or an unusually heavy thunderstorm event. Less common causes include dam and levee breeches or the release of ice jams. Flash floods come on quickly and with little warning, developing in less than six hours from the initial rain or water ...