Flash floods – rapid rises in water levels with high flow velocities – can occur in a matter of seconds. Factors such as rainfall intensity and duration, as well as regional topography, can all contribute to a flash flood situation. Urbanization is also an important cause of flash floods. The roofs, sidewalks, and roads of a city create dangerous amounts of runoff water during big storms, and this runoff can easily become a flash flood if an adequate storm sewer system is not in place.In mountainous regions the rainfall can run down a steep mountain and pick up so much speed that it becomes a dangerous wave moving too fast for people to escape. A similar situation occurred in Rapid City, South Dakota, in 1972 when 237 people were killed.Even deserts are not immune to flash flooding. Dry riverbeds can channel water long distances and create dangerous flood waves, due to the ground being too dry to quickly absorb the water and the lack of plant life to slow the water’s course.Areas with a high risk of flash floods (such as the land surrounding large dams) often have warning systems in place to help alert the population in advance of… Read full this story
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