What is a flash flood?

Flash flooding is essentially what it sounds like: it's flooding that happens in a short period of time. According to the National Weather Service this "short period" is 6 hours, although most flash floods occur within 3 hours of whatever caused the flooding.

Flash floods can happen anywhere. The reason for this is because they can be due to any number of causes, including:

  • Heavy rain (most common cause)
  • Dam or levee breaks
  • Mudslides

Flash flooding is more common in some areas than others due to factors like land use, topography, vegetation, and soil type. Urban areas can also be more prone to flooding because water collects on paved surfaces.

If you live in an area prone to flash flooding, you might be required to purchase flood insurance. Even if your lender doesn't require it, it still might be a good idea. Talk to an independent insurance agent to determine whether flood insurance is worth the cost for you.

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