Updated: May 9
Flooding is common in many areas of the world. Basically rivers overflow banks and spreads over the land or extremely heavy rainfall over powers the systems designed to carry away water and flooding results. There are many other ways flooding can occur of course.
Usually there is some notice of a flood and time to make preparations for it. Planning in advance if you live in a flood prone area is a must. Usually local communities and governmental bodies have plans of what to do in a flood situation. One should be aware of those by contacting ones local community and relevant governmental bodies. Keeping an eye on the weather for the area is also a good move. Flooding can often be forecast by the weather bureau in your area
Here are some common misconceptions about flooding
It does not flood during a drought.
Flooding can happen anytime. Flash rainfalls can cause a sudden flooding where there has been no water for some time.
For example during the record drought from 1998 to the present day, record rainfall and flooding has occurred in Australia in the Melbourne suburb of Fairfield (December 2003), the Qld Gold Coast (June 2005), Greater Melbourne (Feb 2005), SA Flinders Ranges (January 2007), NSW Central Coast (June 2007), Vic Gippsland (June 2007), Qld Sunshine Coast (August 2007). Further record flooding is possible anywhere in Australia during a drought.
Some people claim that their property has never flooded but of course his does not mean it will not. Complacency is not going to stop a flood if it is determined to happen. It only requires extensive and extraordinary rainfall to cause a flood, even where there has been no recorded history of one before.
Hills and Flooding
It is said that hills do not flood. Well, hills are subject to flooding just as much as lower levels of ground. Creeks, rivers can swell several metres or feet and water can raise up to cover hills also if there is a sufficient volume of water. Water will follow the path of least resistance and running down a hill will find the easiest path. Pipes, sewers, guttering can be overwhelmed by the volume of water and it will overflow these and can flood taking movable objects with it down a hill. In addition property can also be stranded by flood waters surrounding it.
Also being nowhere near a river or creek even is no guarantee of no flooding. Flood means that when a river or creek or flash rain swells the water, this can rise up meters or feet and cover the land for several miles or kilometres around. One does not have to be near a river or creek to experience flooding.
Floods can go higher than we plan for. In Victoria, Australia, the minimum floor level for buildings that are at risk of flooding are arbitrarily set at least 300 millimetres above the 100-year flood level. In some areas, higher freeboards are applied depending on uncertainties and the nature of the floodplain. Floods can go higher than the 100-year flood level. In Australia, the flood planning level is usually defined by the 100-year flood. This is not a flood which happens once every 100 hundred years but one which has a 1 in 100 or 1% chance of occurring in each and every year. In a 70 year lifetime there is a 50/50 chance of a 1 in 100 flood being exceeded at any location.
Levees provide a limited protection dependent solely upon how high the water level rises during a flood and on the volume and spend of the water. Leeves are good for very mild low flooding as they cannot be built sufficiently high enough to keep out all flooding. Many people build leeves on a private basis on their property and expect this to hold off all flooding but this is no guarantee.
Driving during floods
Keep in contact with emergency services, sometimes roads will be closed during a flood. Also most people die in floods when they enter in or try and cross floodwaters. You only need 200mm (8 inches) of fast flowing water to sweep you off your feet or 450mm (18 inches) of still water to float your car. Do not drive or walk through floodwaters. If you must enter floodwaters, wear solid shoes, not thongs or bare feet, and check the depth and current with a stick.
Do not drink and avoid as much as possible contact with contaminated floodwater as it may not be clean and can result in serious illness including gastro-enteritis and hepatitis A.
If you are thinking about using trains or public transport contact the relevant transport and find out if they are running.
What to do in a Flood Situation
Contact the emergency services in your area and find out what the situation is. Is the flooding severe requiring evacuation? If so gather any survival kits, valuables, pets and anything else important and leave the area.
If not stay put and shore up your property with leeves or anything that can prevent the water from flooding your property.
Most people that live in a flood prone area will know what to do. But the above is useful information that anyone can use.