WHAT IS A FLOOD?
Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters--except fire. Most communities in the United States can experience some kind of flooding after spring rains, heavy thunderstorms, or winter snow thaws. Floods can be slow, or fast rising but generally develop over a period of days.
Dam failures are potentially the worst flood events. A dam failure is usually the result of neglect, poor design, or structural damage caused by a major event such as an earthquake. When a dam fails, a gigantic quantity of water is suddenly let loose downstream, destroying anything in its path.
WHAT IS A FLASH FLOOD?
Flash floods usually result from intense storms dropping large amounts of rain within a brief period. Flash floods occur with little or no warning and can reach full peak in only a few minutes.
Floods and flash floods occur within all 50 states. Communities particularly at risk are those located in low-lying areas, near water, or downstream from a dam.