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Flooding has many causes, including heavy rain, snow melting too fast, and dams or levees breaking. Coastal flooding occurs during hurricanes from heavy rainfall and storm surge, which causes sea level to rise at the shore.

Why do floods matter?

Flooding is the most common, and costliest, natural hazard facing the United States. Including extreme events like Hurricane Katrina, U.S. flood damages over the past 10 years exceed $150 billion. Since 1970, floods have caused an average of $8.2 billion in damages per year nationwide.[1] Over the same time period, floods have also taken more than 4800 lives.[1]

How does geoscience help inform decisions about flood hazards?

Geologists, hydrologists, and engineers study how and where flooding occurs in order to inform the public about flood risks. They also design structures to reducing flooding impacts and inform land-use managers and policy makers to establish best practices for flood management.

Introductory resources

Answers to basic questions about flood hazards, areas that are most at risk for flooding, and definitions of flood watches, warnings, advisories, statements.
Short article on flood hazards, what to do before/during/after flooding, flood insurance, and links to tools/resources on spring flooding.

Frequent questions


  1. 1.0 1.1 National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2013. Hydrologic Information Center - Flood Loss Data. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/hic/

See also

External links

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