Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Flood Hazard and Disaster

  • Yang Hong
  • Pradeep Adhikari
  • Jonathan J. Gourley
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_138


Deluge; Freshet; Spate; Inundation. The word flood comes from the Old English flod, a word common to Germanic languages (compare German Flut, Dutch Vloed from the same root as seen in flow, float). Deluge myths are stories of a great flood sent by a deity to destroy civilizations as an act of divine retribution and are featured in the folklore of many cultures.



Floods are an overflow or inundation that comes from a river or other body of water and often threatens lives and properties. Therefore, any relatively high streamflow overtopping natural or artificial banks (e.g., levees) in any reach of a stream can be termed a flood. Floods can happen when the flow capacity of river channels, streams, or coastal areas is exceeded due to heavy, intense, or continuous rainfall or when the absorptive capacity of the soils is exceeded. This causes water in a river channel to overflow its banks onto adjoining land area, known as a floodplain. Floodplains are,...

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Web sites

  1. http://www.disastercenter.com. Accessed December 2009–April 2011
  2. http://www.servir.net. Accessed December 2009–April 2011
  3. http://eos.ou.edu/. Accessed December 2009–April 2011
  4. http://www.reliefweb.int/. Accessed December 2009–April 2011
  5. http://www.emdat.be/. Accessed December 2009–April 2011
  6. http://www.dartmouth.edu/∼floods/. Accessed December 2009–April 2011

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yang Hong
    • 1
  • Pradeep Adhikari
    • 2
  • Jonathan J. Gourley
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Civil Engineering and Environmental ScienceCenter for Natural Hazards and Disaster Research, National Weather Center, University of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Atmospheric Radar Research Center, University of OklahomaNormanUSA
  3. 3.NOAA National Severe Storms LaboratoryNormanUSA