Not all floods are equal. While all floods can cause moderate to major property damage, they come in different types and result in various forms of damages. It is important to understand the types of flooding that could affect your Florida property in order to prepare for a potential disaster and keep your family safe.
- Coastal floods happen when water accumulates on land, usually as a result of tides, waves, heavy rainfall or a storm surge.
- Florida is included in the U.S. states that are most prone to coastal flooding, and this risk is expected to grow due to climate changes.
- The effects of coastal flooding include possibilities of drowning, illnesses from contaminated water, and mental health issues from flood-related stress.
- Injuries caused by coastal flooding may include those obtained from falling debris, escaping the water, respiratory issues due to damp environments (which can cause mold damage), and getting in contact with contaminated floodwaters.
- Coastal floods come in three levels: minor, moderate, and major, dependent on the likelihood of property damage and its threats to life.
- River floods occur when water overflows from the riverbanks.
- The potential to flood is not dependent on the size of the river or stream; rivers can potentially flood once every two years.
- River floods in Florida are often caused by heavy rainfall and long-lasting thunderstorms.
- There is a great risk of major property damage if a dam or dike breaks. However, since most river floods often stem from storms, there can be enough time to warn residents in the surrounding areas to evacuate.
- Flash floods are often caused by extreme weather, such as hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, and tropical storms.
- This type of flood can also result from a dam breaking or a mudslide.
- Factors that contribute to the severity of a flash flood include the intensity and location of the rainfall, the landscape, and the condition and type of the soil.
- Urban areas have a greater risk of having flash floods than suburban or rural areas.
- Most flood-related casualties are a result of flash flooding, as these floods can be so powerful they can uproot trees, destroy infrastructure, move boulders and trigger mudslides.
- They can also cause foundation damage and mold growth in homes.
- Heavy rain can overwhelm drainage systems and cause water to overflow into streets and properties, causing groundwater flooding.
- This type of flooding happens gradually, which grants homeowners time to evacuate and secure possessions.
- Groundwater flooding, however, can persist for weeks or months until the soil has the capacity to absorb standing water.
- As a consequence, it can cause significant danger to structures, increasing the likelihood of structural damage and the possibility of mold.
- Overwhelmed sewage systems or treatment plants can break down and cause the release of untreated sewage into water bodies after heavy rain.
- This causes sewage to leak through drains or pipes, or back up in toilets, showers, or sinks.
- Sewage flooding is dangerous, as the water involved is grossly unsanitary, contaminated with pathogens, chemicals, and even fecal matter that can cause diarrhea, infections, fever, and other diseases.
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