NOTE: If you can read this, then you have not entered our site from the proper entry point! In order for all links to function properly, you must start by clicking here.



Floods

Rivers carry water and sediments from high altitudes to the ocean. In certain stages, a river must increase its capacity to carry water and sediments. Floods occur when the channel of a river no longer has the capacity to hold the amount of water required for drainage of a basin.

From year to year, the amount of water a river is required to carry downstream may only vary a little. However, a river is regularly required to carry more water than it can handle, and then it will flood. Most rivers will flood every two - three years with small floods. Larger floods seem to happen every 10 years or so. Really large floods might happen every 100 years or so. It is almost impossible to predict exactly when a really large flood will happen in any particular region. These changes are related to the long-term climate of the region.

A river which jumps its banks increases its ability to meander. The plain across which it meanders is called a floodplain. If you would like to know a little bit more about floods, check the Quickie Question below.


This is a picture of the Colorado River near Hoover Dam.
Click on image for full size version (50K JPG)
Image from: C. Alexander

Quickie Question: What causes flash floods?

Return to the Water Cycle

Rivers Image Archive


Floods

Rivers carry water and sediments from high altitudes to the ocean. From year to year, the amount of water a river is required to carry downstream may only vary a little. Every once and a while however, a river is required to carry much more water than it can handle. Then the river is most likely to overflow its banks and spill across the plain. This is called a flood. Most rivers will flood every two - three years with small floods. Larger floods seem to happen every 10 years or so. Really large floods might happen every 100 years or so. It is almost impossible to predict exactly when a really large flood will happen in any particular region. These changes are related to the long-term climate of the region.

If you would like to know a little bit more about floods, check the Quickie Question below.


This is a picture of the Colorado River near Hoover Dam.
Click on image for full size version (50K JPG)
Image from: C. Alexander

Quickie Question: What causes flash floods?

Return to the Water Cycle

Rivers Image Archive


Floods

Rivers carry water and sediments from high altitudes to the ocean. From year to year, the amount of water a river is required to carry downstream may only vary a little. Every once and a while however, a river is required to carry much more water than it can handle. Then the river is most likely to overflow its banks and spill across the plain. This is called a flood. Most rivers will flood every two - three years with small floods. Larger floods seem to happen every 10 years or so. Really large floods might happen every 100 years or so. It is almost impossible to predict exactly when a really large flood will happen in any particular region. These changes are related to the long-term climate of the region.

If you would like to know a little bit more about floods, check the Quickie Question below.


This is a picture of the Colorado River near Hoover Dam.
Click on image for full size version (50K JPG)
Image from: C. Alexander

Quickie Question: What causes flash floods?

Return to the Water Cycle

Rivers Image Archive



Last modified February 15, 1998 by the Windows Team

The source of this material is Windows to the Universe, at http://www.windows.ucar.edu/ at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). © The Regents of the University of Michigan. Windows to the Universe® is a registered trademark of UCAR. All Rights Reserved. Site policies and disclaimer