Flooding Facts

Natural disasters take all shapes and sizes. From ground sundering quakes to the raw power of a tornado, these terrifying forces of nature can have devastating effects. While lacking the raw sex appeal of the other disasters, flooding can be one of the most dangerous and damaging of the disasters. Flooding is common across the entire world (even in some deserts) and is one of the most damaging of the disasters and comes in all shapes and sizes.

While most of us here in the States do not need to worry about giant walls of water spawned from an offshore quake bearing down on us, we do have to deal with the horrors of the Spring thaw and rainy seasons! However, flooding causes an immense amount of damage and has an incredible effect on communities and people. We are going to address some history and facts about flooding. Let's start with the very basic facts.

Fact: regular insurance will not save you Homeowners insurance does NOT cover flooding. Your house can get burnt to ashes, torn apart by tornadoes, or devoured by the earth itself and you are more likely to get some money back than if you have a leaky pipe. However, you can get flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.

Fact: floods are the most damaging and common natural disasters in the U.S. No state is immune to flooding, not even the arid deserts of Arizona. In the U.S. on average, floods do $6 billion in damage each year. This fact is not exclusive to knee-deep floods but also to those obnoxious floods that cause your carpet to squish when you step on it. In case you are thinking that the destructive power of water cannot possibly be that intense, we urge you to consider the fact that two feet of flowing water is enough to pick your car up and carry the both of you to your new home amongst the fishes.

Fact: you cannot beat the flood. So, in case the previous bit about your car being carried off was not enough, here is some more information about the destructive power of water and how helpless we humans are. Six inches of water is enough to knock a person over if it is moving quickly. According to weather.com, one-third of flooded roads and bridges get so damaged by the water flooding them that crossing vehicles stand a 50 percent chance to make it across. Statistically speaking, if you were to make it across, both the car in front of you and the car behind you would have been carried off by the current.

Fact: floods are diverse Floods come in all shapes, sizes, strengths, and are triggered by a variety of causes. The word flood conjures up images of cities underwater and two of each animal on a giant boat. These cataclysmic floods do happen. Right now in 2011 Memphis has been seeing absolutely enormous flooding. In 1993, the Mississippi river flooded and covered an area of 100,000 square miles (that is 2.5 percent of the entire U.S.). 50,000 homes were damaged in this flood along with an immense amount of farmland and wildlife. However, floods also come in the form of an inch of water in your basement. These floods cause hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in damage and, while they pale in comparison to the mighty super-flood, they still are responsible for millions of dollars in damage each year. Floods of all sizes are cause by many factors. It could be a spring thaw melting the snow and overflowing rivers; or that same thaw could seep into the ground and flood your basement. Large rain seasons also cause flooding of all types. Some other, more dramatic, causes of flooding are: Tsunamis, Earthquakes, Coastal Issues (like wind), Hurricanes and Tropical Storms, and extremely bad leaky pipes.

Fact: removing the water does not stop the damage There is a common misconception about flooding: remove the water and the damage will stop. This is totally false. The fact is that the damage caused by water will continue to get worse even if the water is gone. There are two reasons for this. The first is that water damage harms the structural integrity of a building. It weakens wood, destroys stone, and can generally mess things up. Over time, the pressure put on your house by its own weight will continue to weaken your home even after the water is dried out. The second reason is mold. Black mold is known to grow quickly in damp homes and will persist even after the water is gone. In fact, once the mold dries out it breaks off into tiny particles and becomes even more spreadable by air. The mildew will continue to grow and stink up the place and, should you have more water in your house, you will quickly find that it grows back worse than before. In case you doubt the sheer horror of mold illness, here are some more facts.

 * The stage two symptoms include: vomiting, coughing blood, sexual dysfunction, open sores, neurological disorders, and diarrhea. These effects occur from on and off mold exposure over a few months.

* The stage three symptoms of mold exposure are: blindness, brain damage, memory loss, lung bleeding, cancer and death 

* Mold is one of the most misdiagnosed health issues. A Mayo Clinic study found that 93 percent of all sinus infections were actually mold caused.

The power of flooding is undeniable. The key in keeping yourself safe is to not underestimate the power of water. From cataclysmic floods to a soppy carpet, floods can cause immense damage. If you are careful, understand the danger and react quickly, you will most likely be able to escape most of the damage done by the almighty flood.

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