What is Meant by Flash Flood?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Flash flooding refers to rapid flooding in an area that is often caused due to heavy rains. Extreme rainfall may be caused due to thunderstorms, deluges, dam breaks, or debris flows. Rainfall quantity, distribution, location, vegetation type, density, growth, topography and land use, soil type, and soil water content affect where and how quickly flash flooding may occur.

Flash Flood Meaning

Urban Areas are more prone to flooding in a short period of time. In fact, rainfall from the same storm over the urban area will cause faster flooding and more severe than in the countryside or suburbs. How quickly flash flooding may occur depends on various factors such as rainfall quantity, distribution, density, growth, soil type, and more.

  • Urban areas’ watertight surfaces prevent water from penetrating the ground, and water travels quickly to lower areas.
  • The word flash suggests that the flooding occurs so quickly that people are unprepared. They risk getting into a dangerous situation if they travel through water that is high and moving quickly.
  • People experience the water rising quickly in their homes or places of business, trapping them or damaging their property without giving them a chance to defend themselves.

Where does a Flash flood strike?

Flash Flooding can happen anywhere. The tranquil creeks and streams in the neighborhood area can become raging torrents if rain falls overhead – or upstream your location. It can happen even on streets and highway underpasses.


What is a Flash Flood?

Flash flooding refers to the rapid flooding caused due to heavy rain that typically occurs due to thunderstorms, tropical storms, hurricanes, etc. Flash flooding usually starts 3 to 6 hours after heavy rain. Storms, floods, dam breaks, and debris flows could occur. Flash flooding may occur on factors such as rainfall quantity, location, vegetation type, distribution, density, topography and land use, soil type, growth, and soil water content.

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