Dangers and Destructions of Floods and Hurricanes


Floods and hurricanes have been effecting the lives of people around
the world for years. This research paper is going to state some of the worst
floods and hurricanes, and how future ones can be controlled.
A flood is an overflow of water on dry land. The two types of floods
are coastal and river floods. Coastal floods are the first topic in this
research paper.
A coastal flood is the flooding of beaches and surrounding areas;
including bar spits and deltas. They can be effected by tidal waves and coastal
currents. Coastal floods can cover a large amount of distance along a shore. The
length of time a coastal flood is dangerous is usually very short. It depends on
how high the tide is which goes up and down twice a day. When the velocities of
hurricane winds become severe the height of the waves become three or more feet
higher than the previous high tide. Coastal floods can be caused by a number of
things. Coastal floods can be caused by runoff, hurricane waves, tsunami
(seismic sea waves), and hurricane rains. Coastal flooding can not only take
part on oceans but it can also take part on lakes. Coastal flooding can be a
great danger because coast lines are very densely populated areas. In the United
States in the early 1990\'s 50% of the population was on a coastal county.1
Although they shrink before reaching shore, wind generated waves have been
spotted to be as high as 30 m (100 ft) in the middle of the ocean.2 In 1970 a
major storm in the Bay of Bengal produced heavy seas that flooded regions of
East Pakistan, killing about 200,000 people.3
River flooding can happen a number of ways. The causes are rain,
snowmelt, and ice jams. Soil can not absorb as much water with continuos
moistening. The longer that precipitation lasts the more water flows into
streams as runoff. Cloudburst floods only last for a couple hours, but they need
a large amount of rainfall. This usually only happens in mountainous areas. They
are called flash floods. Floods occurring from snowmelt and ice jams do not have
to be preceded by heavy rains. Moderate amounts of rain can make things even
worse because the ground does not absorb it. Floods can result in the failure
dams, aqueducts, weirs, landfills, paving, construction, and storm sewers. They
are artificial causes.
In 1993 when rainfall lasted from April until July in Iowa, Illinois,
Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas, it covered
about 16 billion acres.4 Many deaths and $10 billion in damage was the result
flood level records.5 In March of 1936 snowmelt equaling 10-30 in. of rain
occurred in New England.6107 people died and $270 million in damage was done.7
In 1972 at Logan County, West Va. a dam collapsed following three days of rain.
In less than four hours 118 lives had been taken and $65 million in damages was
done.8 In January of 1995 18 counties and several parts of Calif. were declared
disaster areas by President Clinton and 1,000 shelters were opened.9 A 21 year
old Californian surfer watched his house be flooded, but on the bright side the
waves should be good tomorrow. People have paddled past gas stations and are
eating hot dogs and marshmallows for supper. Here is a table concerning the
rainfall of California in January of 1994.

L.A. 7.36 in. .67 in. (average)
San Francisco 5.28 in. 1.40 in. "
Sacramento 6.60 in. 1.10 in. "
Redding 9.39 in. 1.50 in. "

National Weather Service Com. California Department of Water Resources.10

The averages for deaths and damages since 1970 from floods is 200
deaths and $4 billion in damage.11 It would be much higher if it wasn\'t for the
National Weather Service River and Flooding Forecasting Service. The National
Weather Service River and Flooding Forecasting Service gives flood watches and
flood warnings to the civilians. The forecasting of floods are based on
Meteorologists, upstream information, and how different places respond to
precipitation. The United States Coast and Geologic Survey monitors seismic
waves and tides in the Pacific Ocean. It is said to have saved many lives. Flood
analysts can measure the probability of floods of various sizes. If a flood has
a 1 in 100 chance of being equaled it is called a 100 - year flood.12
Where major flooding happens once a year, the need for land is
larger than the dangers of flooding. In 1985 the Delta Plan was completed.