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What is a flood?

What is a flood? Officially a flood is defined as ‘an overflow of a large amount of water beyond its normal limits, especially over what is normally dry land’.

Floods can occur because of a number of different things  although generally speaking there are two main types of floods. One of these is river floods – when the water level rises and climbs over the edges of a river bank. This happens when the rivers are unable to carry away flood water within their usual drainage channels. The result is an overflow of water that spills out over surrounding low lying properties and land.

The second main type of flood is called a ‘flash flood’. This type of flood happens quickly and unexpectedly when a large quantity of water rapidly falls on an area. Flash floods are caused by very intense, heavy rainfall. Frozen or saturated land is more susceptible to this type of flooding. Flash floods are also a risk in built-up, urban areas where the drains are not sufficient in draining the rain water away quickly enough.

Other types of flood include surface water flooding, sewer flooding, coastal flooding, ground water flooding and flooding caused by river or dam failure.

Regardless of what type of flood you experience – flooding can devastate lives and cause serious damage to your property or land. Floods can occur anywhere, and it is important that you plan in advance for how you will be able to deal with a flood.  It is true to say that planning and preparation are the most powerful means of dealing with a flood, and simple steps like obtaining sandbags can help minimise the impact and disruption inevitably caused as a by product of flooding.

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