Floods

PDF versionPDF version

Flooding is the most common and costliest natural hazard facing the United States. Each year, flooding causes billions of dollars in damages and dozens of deaths nationwide.

Basics

A flooded farm field. Image Copyright © Michael Collier. http://www.earthscienceworld.org/images

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.   Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Geological Survey

Latest News

Paricutín Volcano
(2019-04-12)
April 2, 2019 Several disaster aid bills were introduced in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee beginning on February 15 in a continuing effort to mitigate the economic and physical impacts of future natural disasters. Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC-11) has now introduced two...
IES Oceans Glyph
(2019-04-01)
March 13, 2019 On March 13, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP was last reauthorized by Congress on December 21, 2018, authorizing the program through May 31, 2019. The program has long struggled with...
Hawaiian flower
(2018-07-09)
June 28, 2018 Following the House passage of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) by party line vote on June 21, the Senate amended H.R. 2 with text from S. 3042, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, and an amendment providing a one-year extension of the National Flood Insurance...
Atlantic waves
(2018-05-04)
April 18, 2018 Following the historic 2017 hurricane season, members of Congress seem to be focusing more of their attention on updating and improving flood mapping efforts nationwide. Currently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) produces flood hazard maps for the nation, which can be...
Mammatus clouds that are usually associated with thunderstorms.
(2017-12-13)
November 14, 2017 Following months of debate on the floor continuing late in the day on November 14, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five more years, while making several operational changes. According to the...
NASA hurricane satellite image
(2017-09-14)
August 29, 2017 In anticipation of Hurricane Harvey making landfall on the Gulf Coast, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) were preparing for the massive storm by monitoring its...
NASA hurricane satellite image
(2017-05-18)
April 18, 2017 The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act (H.R.353) was signed into law by President Trump on April 18. This law prioritizes U.S. leadership in weather forecasting and research by authorizing new forecasting programs and support existing programs. The bill primarily focuses...
Flooding webinar postcard. Image Credit: AGI
(2017-02-07)
Join hundreds of attendees from around the world for an in-depth discussion on assessing, mitigating, and communicating flood risk tomorrow, Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 1:00pm EST. Register here. More info below.   This webinar features experts from federal and state government, who will...
Screenshot of the Marine Cadastre National Viewer. Image Credit: NOAA, BOEM
(2016-09-30)
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) Policy Program’s workshop, “Opportunities and Needs in Integrated Water Prediction, Risk Assessment, and Management for Coastal Resilience,” concluded on September 28th, providing insights to coastal scientists and managers on how to better serve their...
Screenshot of the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Portal map
(2016-09-29)
On September 27th and 28th, our Critical Issues intern attended a workshop hosted by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Policy Program: “Opportunities and Needs in Integrated Water Prediction, Risk Assessment, and Management for Coastal Resilience.” The first day focused on resilience issues...

Case Studies & Factsheets

CI_Factsheet_2017_5_drywellprograms_170906_thumb.JPG
Introduction Dry wells improve stormwater drainage and aquifer recharge by providing a fast, direct route for rainwater to drain deep into underlying sediment and rock. Dry wells are most common in the western U.S. where clay or caliche layers slow down the natural drainage of water into underlying...
Pre-Ike (left) and post-Ike (right) ASTER imagery of Galveston Island, the Bolívar Peninsula, and the mainland in August 2006. Healthy (red) and dead (brown) vegetation shows storm surge inundation effects. Image Credit: Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observ.
Hurricanes bring not only intense rainfall, but also high winds and flooding. This flooding is powered by the hurricane storm surge: a rise in coastal sea level caused by lowered barometric pressure and by wind blowing the ocean onto the land. The result is that waves and currents affect areas that...
CI_Factsheet_2017_4_drywellbasics_170906_thumb.JPG
What is a Dry Well? A dry well is a well that is used to transmit surface water underground and is deeper than its width at the surface (see image, below). Most dry wells are 30 to 70 feet deep and 3 feet wide at the surface. They are lined with perforated casings and can be filled with gravel or...

GOLI Online Courses

GOLI Course: Assessing, Mitigating, and Communicating Flood Risk. Image courtesy of Maria Coxx Lamm
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

Flooding is a perennial hazard for rivers and coasts alike. Every year, flooding results in billions of dollars of damage and the loss of dozens to hundreds of lives across the United States. Efforts to mitigate this hazard rely on the work of geoscientists, planners, and communicators to assess...

GOLI Course: Planning for Coastal Storm and Erosion Hazards; Image credit: USGS/USFWS - photo by Greg Thompson
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

Coastal hazards are a widespread challenge that cost millions (and sometimes billions) of dollars in the U.S. every year due to property loss and spending on mitigation measures. Based on the most recent U.S. Census, over 39% of the U.S. population lives in areas that may undergo significant...

Geological Surveys Database Publications

1839, Michigan Geological Survey

-------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------------- -------------------

1840, Michigan Geological Survey

-------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------------- -------------------

1841, Michigan Geological Survey

-------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------------- -------------------

1841, Michigan Geological Survey

-------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------------- -------------------

1850, Michigan Geological Survey

-------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------------- -------------------

1869, Indiana Geological and Water Survey

-------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------------- -------------------

1871, Indiana Geological and Water Survey

-------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------------- -------------------

1872, Indiana Geological and Water Survey

-------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------------- -------------------

1873, Michigan Geological Survey

-------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------------- -------------------

1873, Minnesota Geological Survey

-------------------------- --------------------------- ------------------------ ------------------------------ ---------------------- -------------------