What is Flooding?
Flooding is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘To cover or fill with water; to irrigate (grass land); to deluge (a burning house, mine, etc.) with water. Also of rain, etc.: To fill (a river) to overflowing.’.
Flooding often causes substantial structural damage to housing, agriculture and standard of living. According to a report into the flood defence spending in England carried out by Parliament in 2014, ‘5.2 million properties are at risk of flooding in England’ and ‘annual flood damage costs are in the region of £1.1 billion’. However, as the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks of British Columbia suggests ‘flooding is […] a natural hydrological process required by some plants and animals to thrive’.
The Different Types of Flooding
River Flooding – (Fluvial)
River flooding, often referred to as fluvial flooding, usually occurs due to sustained heavy rainfall or excess water caused by melting snow; the banks of the river will overtop and spill out usually into surrounding low-lying ground. This type of flooding is usually prevented by raising ground levels (creating flood defences) surrounding rivers. In some high-risk areas, man-made diversion channels can be implemented to reduce the immediate risk to the surrounding areas. The UK government issues flood warnings over text, email or by phone.
Surface Water Flooding – (Pluvial)
Surface water flooding happens when the ground becomes oversaturated due to quickly occurring, heavy rainfall. The excess water cannot drain fast enough and so stays above the surface. Surface water flooding can occur in locations that are remote from a body of water. Property Road recommends leaving grassy areas around buildings in order to limit property damage; ‘leaving a grassy area not only gives a route for water to drain away, the grass itself will also help soak up some water’.
Coastal flooding occurs when lower ground around the coastline is submerged in seawater. High tides and tsunamis usually cause this type of flooding as it causes the sea level to rise abnormally high and strong winds push the high tide towards the land. Flooding is usually prevented in coastal areas by both man-made and natural barriers: sand dunes, cliffs or sea walls. The UK government provides an online search to check if coastal areas are particularly susceptible to flooding. Find it here.
Flash flooding, like the name suggests, occurs very quickly and is therefore extremely dangerous. The National Weather Service in the USA defines it as ‘Flooding that begins within 6 hours, and often within 3 hours, of the heavy rainfall’. Flash flooding occurs when the ground cannot absorb or drain away torrential rain that falls over a short space of time. According to the UK Met Office “Flash flooding commonly happens more where rivers are narrow and steep, so they flow more quickly. It can also occur from small rivers in built-up urban areas, where hard surfaces such as roads and concrete don’t let the water drain away into the ground. This leads to surface overflow and can often overwhelm local drainage systems, leading to flash flooding.”. It is also important to note that the UK government recommends that utilities such as gas, water and electricity should be turned off in the event of a flash flood due to potentially unknown damage to their supply.
Regardless of the types of flooding you may be at risk of or experiencing, IBS Engineered Products are specialists in flood control and protection. From the manufacturing of Stoplogs and Penstocks to Flood Defences for Buildings. To find out more about how we can help, simply contact us today.