Floods are one of nature’s most destructive forces. All counties in Ireland have experienced some kind of flooding, after spring rains, heavy thunderstorms, or winter thaws. They can be unpredictable and are potentially fatal. Here are some facts which show just how dangerous a flood can be.
- As little as 300mm of fast-flowing water can move most cars off the road.
- Just 150mm of fast-flowing water can knock you off your feet.
- Scientists predict that climate change may lead to more frequent flooding in the future.
- 66% of flood deaths occur in vehicles, and most happen when drivers make a single, fatal mistake trying to navigate through flood waters.
- Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters.
- One-third of flooded roads and bridges are so damaged by water that any vehicle trying to cross stands only a 50% chance of making it to the other side.
- Flood waters move fast enough to roll boulders, tear out trees and destroy bridges – a process known as scouring.
- Flood water is often contaminated by overflowing drains, animal carcasses and refuse.
- Electric currents can pass through flood water from downed power lines and cables.
- Flood water can move manhole and drain covers, creating invisible dangers.
- Because water displaces body weight, the deeper a person becomes immersed in floodwater, the less the person weighs, so the more difficult it is for them to remain upright.