Understanding the 3 Most Common Types of Floods

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. They can wreak havoc on homes and communities, causing extensive damage and, in worst-case scenarios, loss of life.

Types of Floods to be Aware of

It’s essential for homeowners to be prepared and understand the different types of floods they may encounter. In this guide, we will look into the details of fluvial floods, pluvial floods, coastal floods, and surface flooding, outlining their causes, effects, and prevention measures. This knowledge can potentially save you and your property from catastrophic flood damage.

Fluvial Floodsfluvial floods

Fluvial floods, commonly known as river floods, are a significant threat to homeowners living near rivers and low-lying areas. These floods occur when rivers overflow their banks due to an excessive volume of water, often brought on by heavy rainfall or snowmelt.

Understanding Fluvial Floods

Fluvial floods are the consequence of rivers unable to contain the water they carry. When a river’s capacity is overwhelmed, water spills onto adjacent land, leading to flooding.

Contributing Factors

Two primary factors contribute to fluvial floods:

  1. Heavy Rainfall: Prolonged, heavy rain can saturate the soil and lead to rapid runoff into rivers. When the river’s flow can’t handle this influx, flooding occurs.
  2. Snowmelt: In regions with cold winters, melting snow adds a substantial amount of water to rivers as temperatures rise. If this coincides with heavy rainfall, the flood risk increases.

At-Risk Regions

Areas with extensive river networks, low-lying terrain, and urban development near riverbanks are especially susceptible to fluvial flooding. Coastal cities, states with significant river systems (e.g., the Mississippi River in the U.S.), face consistent fluvial flood threats.

Pluvial Floods

Pluvial floods, also known as surface or flash floods, occur when the local drainage system is unable to handle rainfall, leading to water pooling in low-lying areas. Pluvial floods refer to flooding events caused by heavy rainfall, exceeding the drainage capacity of the soil or urban infrastructure. As rainwater accumulates rapidly, it can lead to surface water flooding, affecting streets, roads, and urban areas.

Pluvial floods are influenced by factors such as rainfall intensity, topography, and urban development. Climate change and urbanization contribute to the increased frequency and severity of pluvial floods, highlighting the importance of effective drainage systems and urban planning to mitigate their impact.

Understanding Pluvial Floods

Pluvial floods, are a product of intense rainfall overwhelming drainage systems and natural water pathways. There are two main types of pluvial floods, flash floods, and surface water floods. Unlike fluvial floods, which rely on swollen rivers, pluvial floods are from high volumes of precipitation.

What Causes Pluvial Floods?

Intense Rainfall: Pluvial floods are primarily caused by intense rainfall that accumulates faster than the ground can absorb it or the drainage system can carry it away.

At Risk Regions

Pluvial flooding has the potential to occur in any setting, whether urban or rural, even in areas where there are no nearby bodies of water.

In addition, factors such as landscape, soil saturation levels, and the speed and duration of rainfall can influence the occurrence and severity of pluvial floods. Water can accumulate on roads, streets, and even your doorstep.

Coastal Floods

Coastal floods are a significant threat for homeowners residing near the sea or ocean. This type of flooding is associated with extreme high tides, or storm surges, usually caused by severe weather conditions like hurricanes .These floods can lead to substantial property damage and pose serious threats to the safety of coastal communities.

Understanding Coastal Floods

Coastal floods, as the name suggests, inundate coastal areas when water from the ocean invades onto the land. Unlike other types of floods, coastal flooding is orchestrated by the power of the sea, and its triggers are unique to these regions.

Causes of Coastal Floods

Coastal floods have several instigators:

  1. High Tides: The regular ebb and flow of tides can result in minor coastal flooding, known as “nuisance flooding,” especially during astronomical high tides.
  2. Storm Surges: When powerful storms, such as hurricanes approach the coast, they can create a domino effect of rising water levels. This phenomenon, known as a storm surge, is one of the most formidable forces behind coastal flooding.
  3. Hurricanes: The convergence of high winds, heavy rainfall, and low pressure systems in hurricanes can lead to catastrophic coastal flooding, posing grave risks to communities along the coastline.

At Risk Regions

Certain coastal regions are inherently prone to flooding. Low-lying coastal areas, including barrier islands, coastal cities, and deltas, face a heightened risk due to their proximity to the sea and often flat terrain.

Signs of Flood Damage

Let’s start by understanding what exactly constitutes flood damage. Flood damage is damage to a home or building as a direct result of a flooding event. This can cause water damage in your home, signs of this include:

What if Flood Damage goes Untreated?

Don’t underestimate the dangers of untreated water damage after a flood! It can lead to serious health issues like mold, fungus, and bacteria. The effects can be absolutely devastating. That’s why it’s crucial to take action quickly.

Mold after a Flood

Did you know that mold can start growing just 24 hours after a flood? And once it starts, it can be really tough to get rid of. But here’s a tip: the faster you remove and dry your belongings, the less likely they are to be ruined by mold.

If things get really bad, you might have to remove entire areas. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and get a professional to check out the situation.

Need Help with Water Damage after a Flood?

Recognizing the various types of floods and their potential impact is crucial for every homeowner. An understanding of fluvial, pluvial, and coastal floods, their causes, and risk areas can help reduce the likelihood of disastrous consequences.

When a flood strikes, the best thing that you can do is to act quickly. Flood or water damage can enter from a fallen roof due to storm damage, rise through crawl spaces, or even enter directly into your basement. These damages caused by a flood can grow exponentially worse if left untreated.

If you’ve experienced flood damage, contact Jenkins Restorations’ 24/7 to repair the damage and get your home back to normal!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many types of floods are there?

There are several different types of floods, with the 3 most common being fluvial, pluvial, and coastal floods.

Areal Flood Warning vs Flood Warning

Flash Flood Warnings are issued when there is an expectation of heavy rain that could lead to flooding within a span of 6 hours. On the other hand, an Areal Flood Warning is issued for flooding that occurs gradually as a result of prolonged and persistent moderate to heavy rainfall.