Flooding causes untold amounts of damage. But knowing the different types of floods can help you prepare. Learn more about flash floods, urban flooding, and more
With a storm in late 2021 causing rainfall, mudslides, and more, California residents trying to ring in the new year stress-free were in trouble. The storm proves that, even if you're in the middle of a drought, it's crucial to stay educated regarding flood safety. The different types of floods result in severe water damage, injury, and death. Never take nature lightly!
It's time for a flood and Inland Empire flood safety crash course by looking at different types of floods.
With California's water regulations and notorious droughts, Southern California residents may not have floods at the top of their list of big concerns. But, as exhibited with last year's flood, it's always important to be prepared.
"The L.A. River, reduced to a near trickle during a bone-dry November, surged to nearly 10 feet in some areas Thursday."
While this was serious enough, the effect reached Malibu, too.
"...a flash flood in Malibu hamstrung at least 50 campers who had to be rescued from raging muddy waters," says L.A. Times writers Hayley Smith and James Rainey.
What type of flood ran rampant through L.A. and caused such a stir? What are the particular types of flooding, and what sets them apart?
Not all floods are the same. Sure, when rushing water comes your way or destroys property, you likely aren't considering the type of flood. However, knowing the types of floods, and your particular local geography, can help you prepare better.
Coastal flooding, caused by heavy winds and storms, will force water towards the shore.
A coastal flood will submerge dry areas in water from an ocean or sea. Coastal flooding usually happens at high tide.
While this isn't assured every time, a high tide and a nasty storm are all warning signs of potential coastal flooding.
A notorious example of the different types of floods, a flash flood often occurs due to heavy rain. However, a heavy thunderstorm with record rainfall isn't the only cause of flash floods.
If unprepared, areas with dams that break are at immediate risk for flash floods. Flash floods are categorized as such if they start within six hours of the onset of rainfall.
Flash floods can ruin houses, flood basements and quickly turn one's life on its head.
As you'd expect, a river flood occurs when a river overflows. Everything from rain to snow melt can cause a river to rise, exposing nearby residents to flooding risks.
However, like flash flooding, river flooding needs an inciting incident like snow or other inclement weather. River flooding also generally takes more time than a flash flood.
Before you think that urban flooding is simply a bad flood occurring in a city environment, it's more nuanced.
Urban flooding occurs when the drainage system of an urban environment can't handle increased water levels.
Water needs a place to go. When flooding happens in a city, and there's nowhere for it to go, that's when you see widespread urban flooding.
As you'll soon see, urban flooding can cause massive health problems due to a rise in contaminated water.
And if you’re living near or on a floodplain, these risks are exponentially bigger.
A floodplain is an area next to a body of water, usually a river. If one isn't prepared when residing on or near a floodplain, one storm surge or heavy rainfall can result in costly damage.
Floodplains are no strangers to different types of floods.
For example, the Mississippi River has a massive floodplain. Residents along the winding southern river must contend with and prepare accordingly for various dangers. Plus, they need to deal with costly flood damage.
Speaking of which, what should you do to keep safe during a flood?
What should be the first course of action during or before a potential flood event or storm surge? Let's find out.
It's crucial that, regardless of the type of flood, you gather enough food and water. Preferably enough to last a few days.
While observing and assessing your immediate surroundings is crucial to staying safe in a flood, there's more you can do. Listening in for emergency alerts or broadcasts in your area is essential. Likewise, be aware of any warnings from your local municipality regarding flood dangers.
Flood water can be dangerous.
Even a few inches of flood water on the road can render a vehicle useless when driving a car after a flood.
Likewise, floodwater can contain toxic chemicals and bacteria from sewage. So before you think of drinking any water from a flood, think again!
According to Danny Reible, a researcher at the University of Texas, it's too risky to chance consuming or to wade unprotected in flash flood waters.
"The problem with floodwaters, Reible notes, is that they carry away everything they touch. When a flood carries a car, it moves not just the car but also gasoline and transmission fluid."
Even your backyard can pose a danger if you're not diligent:
"When the water scours soil and backyards, it dredges up heavy metals and other toxins previously buried. Household chemicals such as cleaners also enter the water. The greater the area that floods, the greater the potential for chemical contamination.
And what's worse, if you're near an area with power plants, you have to contend with that:
"Industrial facilities such as refineries, power plants, chemical storage, or even highly contaminated Superfund sites pose an even greater risk."
While exploring the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Reible found that toxicity levels were lower than expected.
However, it's just too risky to chance the health of you and your loved ones.
After the water recedes, it's time for cleanup and home reconstruction. Let's face it; the entire cleanup process as a homeowner can be a difficult, stressful time. But it doesn't have to be.
With the experts at Five Star Restoration, property owners directly affected by heavy rain, massive landslides, or any natural disaster can take comfort.
Since 2016, the professional home repair and reconstruction company has been serving the Inland Empire and Northern San Diego.
It doesn't matter if it's the result of a river flood, coastal flood, or even cleaning up after burst pipes. The home restoration experts at Five Star have you covered.
Don't be caught unaware the next time the L.A. river overflows! Call Five Star Restoration to see the Five Star difference!
If you are not sure your location is in the areas we cover, or if you'd just like to chat or ask a question, give us a call.
We are committed to an excellent finished product and even better customer service. Rest assured that when we show up for your restoration needs, you'll be informed, confident and stress-free.