Flooding has many causes, including heavy rain, snow melting too fast, and dams or levees breaking. Coastal flooding occurs during hurricanes from heavy rainfall and storm surge, which causes sea level to rise temporarily at the shore.
Why do floods matter?
Flooding is the most common, and costliest, natural hazard facing the United States. Over the last 30 years, floods have caused an average of $8 billion in damages and 82 deaths per year nationwide.
How does geoscience help inform decisions about flood hazards?
Geoscientists study water and fluid flow, monitor streamflow, and map out past flooding events and likely inundation zones to understand how and where flooding occurs and inform the public about flood risk. They also design structures to reduce flooding impacts and inform land-use managers and policy makers to establish best practices for flood management.
 Hydrologic Information Center - Flood Loss Data, National Weather Service, http://www.nws.noaa.gov/hic/
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