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The Many Causes & Consequences of Flooding

The Continual Intensification of Flooding Events

Floods are one of the most common natural disasters – costing billions of dollars in damages every year. The frequency and severity of flooding are accelerating with climate change. As noted by the UNEP, floods have become more likely due to long-term global climate change. Moreover, increased changes in land cover (from bulldozing, razing, and wildfires) exacerbate the risks and damages of flooding events.

Unfortunately, unlike tornadoes and hurricanes, floods can occur virtually anywhere – even in dry climates. In fact, dryer landscapes can sometimes be more susceptible to flooding due to the land’s inability to absorb large quantities of water over short timespans. To help prepare your home or business for a potential flooding scenario, we recommend reading about the different kinds of flooding and how to respond to each situation.

Don’t hesitate to call if you are dealing with emergency flooding. At ServiceMaster of Colorado Springs, we have technicians on standby 24/7 – ready to rush to the rescue when you need assistance.

Common Types of Flooding

Flash Flooding

Flash floods are caused by heavy rainfall or rapid snow thaw during a short duration. They can occur with minimal warning or notice (usually within the first 6 hours) and create dangerous situations as fast-moving waters sweep everything in their path, including large objects (trees, vehicles, sheds, rocks, debris).

Frequent causes of flash flooding include:

  • Thunderstorms
  • Hurricanes
  • Tropical storms
  • Snowmelt
  • Dam or levee malfunctions
  • Mudslides

The severity of a flash flood will vary depending on the intensity, location, landscape, and soil type. Urban environments are especially vulnerable to flash floods – at least more so than suburban or rural neighborhoods. One recurring reason for disastrous urban flooding is a lack of soil to soak up rainwater. That said, anywhere can experience flooding if the ground is unable to absorb water runoff faster than it falls.

During heavy rainfall, it is wise to be on the lookout for flood watches, flood warnings, and flood evacuations. This is particularly true if you live near a floodplain and have ineffective drainage. Sadly, most flood-related deaths are due to flash floods catching people off-guard.

Flooding can also cause significant structural property damage, wreaking havoc on:

  • Foundations
  • Appliances
  • Instructure
  • Landscaping
  • And much more

River/Stream Flooding

River floods occur when a riverbank gradually overflows, spilling into nearby land. This type of flooding is common during periods of excessive, torrential rainfall. River floods can damage nearby roads, wash out road crossings, create dangerous driving conditions, and leave vehicles stranded. Any river and stream can potentially flood, but the size of the water body will impact the extent of the damage.

In Colorado, river flooding is usually the consequence of powerful thunderstorms, continual rainfall, or precipitous snowmelt. Unlike flash floods, river and stream flooding are generally predictable. Therefore, residents in surrounding areas should take precautions. By preparing for flooding, property owners can mitigate economic damages and evacuate safely. However, sudden catastrophic property damage is possible if a dam or dike breaks.

Pluvial, Groundwater, & Sewage Flooding

Pluvial floods usually arise in flat terrains where the soil fails to absorb the rainwater quickly enough. Some pluvial flooding events can be minor – resulting in contained ponds and puddles. Pluvial flooding can also cause extensive damage – running crops, suspending agricultural operations, and negatively affecting farmlands.

Groundwater floods primarily emerge from overwhelmed drainage systems during sudden deluges. As drains overflow and inundate during a torrential downpour, rainwater can spill into urban or rural landscapes. Groundwater flooding usually takes place gradually – offering property owners time to prepare and remove valuable, movable possessions. Nevertheless, groundwater flooding can sometimes persist for weeks or months – damaging property, vegetation, and infrastructure. The standing water can also attract unwanted insects, infestations, and mold.

Sewage floods transpire when heavy rainfall engulfs sewage treatment plants – causing untreated sewage to release into water systems. Sewage floods are especially dangerous and toxic, as unhealthy/bacteria-ridden water leaks into piping and drainage systems. If extensive enough, contaminated sewage water can end up in toilets, sinks, or showers. This water will smell foul and carry pathogens that can cause infections and diseases. They require an urgent and effective clean-up response by experts equipped with proper protective gear.

The ServiceMaster of Colorado Springs Difference

Any flooding event can cause extensive damage, stress, injuries, respiratory illness, and other infections due to contaminated floodwater. The good news is we are here to help. Our restoration specialists will assess the damage and deliver a comprehensive and detailed game plan to salvage your prized possessions. We will go above and beyond to mitigate property loss and get your home or business back to normal as quickly as possible. Our team is ready to help you rebuild and restore!

Call (719) 356-3189 to learn more about our flood restoration services today!