Flooding is the most dangerous natural hazard regarding property loss and deaths. Here are some scary Facts About Floods that you should know.
Floods can happen at any hour of the day and night, anywhere in the country. Flooding is most commonly caused by heavy rainfall, but hurricanes, snowmelt, and winter storms are common causes.
Let’s get started with these Facts About Floods to know about these natural calamities in depth.
Facts About Floods
While floodplains account for approximately 25% of all ecosystem services benefits, they only make up 2% of Earth’s total land surface.
Floodplains The low-lying areas around rivers and other water bodies that regularly flood are called floodplains. Floodplains are the lifeblood of surrounding areas because of their frequent flooding.
They are a source of clean water and habitat for wildlife and have many other benefits. One of these is storing floodwater in large quantities and releasing it slowly over time.
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The U.S. wetlands save over $30 billion annually on flood damage repair costs.
The natural sponges that wetlands store and release floodwaters slowly after the peak flood flows have passed. One acre of wetland will hold 330,000 gallons of water, enough to flood 13 homes of average size.
We have seen more severe and frequent storms over the past century.
Americans have experienced a 20% increase in heavy downpours over the past 50 years. We know that the country’s floodplains are likely to grow by 40-45% over the next 90 years due to a changing climate. This will put more people at risk.
Flood losses are now causing damage of an average of $10 billion annually.
Extreme rainfall events and changes in land use combined with increased flood losses have led to an increase in floods in the first decade of the new millennium. This is despite billions of dollars being invested in flood control.
2011 saw 58 Federal flood disaster declarations. They cost over $8 billion and resulted in 113 deaths. Both were higher than the 30-year averages.
A 100-year flood zone homeowner with a 30-year mortgage has a 14% chance of such a flood. The flood risk is more than twice that of a homeowner who lives in an area with a fire.
Floods can occur anywhere. It all depends on the risk. People living in areas that are not considered high-risk (or within the 100-year floodplain) may file more than 20% of flood insurance claims and get one-third of flood assistance.
Approximately 17% of the total urban land in America is in the “100 years” or high-risk flood zone.
Flood insurance is required if you are a homeowner in high-risk areas and have a federally backed loan. Flood insurance is expensive, but it costs an average of $600 per year. Participating in FEMA’s voluntary Community Rating System can save you up to 45% on your insurance premium.
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A 100-year floodplain homeowner has a 1 to 4 chance of being flooded over the 30-year mortgage. This is twice the likelihood of fire damage.
Floods do not occur in the 100-year floodplain. 100-year floods may happen more often than once every century. Flood damage beyond the 100-year floodplain accounts for more than 20% of flood insurance claims. One-third of flood disaster assistance goes to flood victims. A 100-year flood is a statistical projection. It refers to a flood event with a 1 percent chance of occurring each year. The area and size of the 100-year flood zone will rise as the climate changes.
Flood mitigation techniques that minimize the loss of lives and property damage offer $5 in benefits per dollar.
It’s cheaper to prepare for flooding than to clean up after it happens, so homeowners should take steps to protect their homes and reduce their impact.
Many times, levees fail with devastating consequences.
There are approximately 100,000 miles worth of levees that cross the country. There is not a definitive record of the number and condition of these levees.
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More than 40 percent of the U.S. populace lives in areas with levees. Many were built decades ago for agricultural purposes but are now home and business owners.
There are proven ways to reconnect rivers. The floodplain can be modified or set back levees to store more water, keep people safe, and provide other benefits like clean water, wildlife habitat, and better water quality.