Flood damage in the United States is defined by federal law (the 1968 Disaster Relief Act, amended in 1970 and 1988) as damage of any origin sustained by a physical object, structure, or surface when submerged or partially submerged underwater. The key ingredient that defines flood damage is the presence of water—so if your car falls into a swimming pool, it’s not considered flood-damaged even if every mechanical system fails.
Flood damage can be caused by heavy rain, coastal storm surges, melting ice caps, broken dams or levees, powerful rivers expanding their channels through erosion or overtopping their banks—or even tsunamis within lakes formed by dam collapses. Most people think of hurricanes causing floods along coastlines… but torrential downpours in the heart of the continent also result in floods that are just as devastating.
The different kinds of flood damage will be discussed in more detail below… with examples to show how they might affect your particular situation.
What type of flood damage do you have?
If you aren’t sure what kind of flood damage has occurred in your home, car or business, it’s important to find out before taking any action on insurance claims or FEMA assistance applications. Contact a local expert from a reputable water restoration company for an assessment and estimate. They should be able to tell you exactly what kind of flooding happened—and if there was any sewage backup present. In many cases, sewage contamination is worse than the original water flow because sewage contains more of the elements that adversely affect human health… and it must be treated by more advanced, costly equipment.
If your home or business has been flooded from any source, contact a local water damage restoration company immediately for help with eliminating the immediate threats to your property’s safety and health, restoring its value by restoring items to their original condition if possible. Then take steps to minimize chances of repeat incidents in the future—see suggestions below under Preventing Flood Damage. You may also want to read about flood insurance options available for homeowners at Insuring Natural Disasters.
The consequences of flood damage are not taken lightly, so it’s important for you to understand all aspects of this kind of loss… how it might affect you personally… what you’ll need to do if you want to make an insurance claim or FEMA assistance application… and how to avoid flood damage in the future.
Flood Damage Causes…
Water has always been a constant factor on planet Earth—including its atmosphere… oceans, rivers, seas… and all the creatures living within them. That’s why meteorologists can’t explain why some parts of this huge blue marble are getting wetter year by year while other regions are drying out. However, there is no doubt that flooding caused by heavy rainfalls is increasing at both the national and global levels, putting people’s homes and businesses more often than ever before at risk from water-driven disasters.
According to a National Geographic study, “In recent years, global warming has contributed to an increase in the number and magnitude of floods.” The study points out that global warming increases evaporation, resulting in more intense downpours. A warmer atmosphere also means higher maximum temperatures during the summer months—so it’s not surprising to find flooding happening with greater frequency throughout the year… even in wintertime.
Flood Risk Factors
It should come as no surprise that some parts of the world are more prone to flooding than others—and that a great number of those flooded regions have been expanding over recent decades as the population continues to increase. To name just two examples, Florida is among the most vulnerable states in America… and Bangladesh is one of the most flood-prone countries in the world.
According to weather experts, tropical storms are increasing in size and strength because warmer ocean temperatures accelerate evaporation rates, resulting in heavier rainfall amounts when these storms move inland. On top of that factor, global warming affects wind patterns around Earth’s surface. With stronger winds comes an increase in wave height which contributes to faster coastal erosion during tropical storms with higher waves that can lead to risk for coastal communities worldwide.