Floods

Overview

Floods are far and away the most common natural disaster worldwide and account for the most deaths. The deadliest disaster of the 20th century was the China floods of 1931, which by many accounts resulted in more than a million deaths.

In the United States, floods account for more deaths than any other natural disaster; resulting in more loss of life and property than other types of hazards and severe weather events. This is due to the multifaceted nature of flood events. For instance, the US Eastern and Gulf coasts are particularly vulnerable to storm surges from hurricanes, while the Northeast and North Central U.S., and some areas of the Western U.S. are more susceptible to excessive rainfall, snow/ice melt, and dam failures. In Alaska the Upper Midwest and other areas, river ice jams can also cause severe flooding.

Recent studies have highlighted how local investments in simple flood preparations often experience 70% less property damage when flooding occurred. But achieving such benefits on a global scale requires full understanding and characterizations of flood exposure. NASA’s Disasters Response Program, combined with its fleet of Earth Observing satellites, is helping scientists and decision-makers improve prediction of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from flood disasters.

Our Agency’s flood preparedness and response capabilities include satellite observations, data systems, and modeling capabilities divided into two core areas:

  1. Global Flood Prediction and Warning (weather prediction coupled with increasingly accurate satellite observations and hydrological models):
  2. Global Flood Mapping and Damage Assessment (from the observed satellite time series record of flood events, and also from modeling):
 

Latest Updates

September 12, 2017
ISS Georeferenced Digital Camera Images from Hispaniola flooding 2017
Click here to view the full image collection and download  high quality georeferenced images. This collection of digital camera images was taken by astronauts onboard the International Space Station on September 12th, 2017, then manually georeferenced by members of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA Johnson Space Center.
September 12, 2017
ISS Georeferenced Digital Camera Images of Bermuda Flooding from Hurricane Irma 2017
Click here to view the full image collection and download  high quality georeferenced images. This collection of digital camera images was taken by astronauts onboard the International Space Station on September 12th, 2017, then manually georeferenced by members of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA Johnson Space Center.
September 12, 2017
ISS Georeferenced Digital Camera Images from Florida flooding 2017
Click here to view the full image collection and download  high quality georeferenced images. This collection of digital camera images was taken by astronauts onboard the International Space Station on Septmber 12th, 2017, then manually georeferenced by members of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA Johnson Space Center.
September 12, 2017
GPM IMERG precipitation totals from hurricane Irma 9/5/17 - 9/12/17
Hurricane Irma dropped extremely heavy rain at times during it’s trek from near the Cape Verdi Islands through the northern Leeward islands, Cuba and the southeastern United States. Over 16 inches (406 mm) of rain was reported in Guantanamo, in the easternmost province of Cuba, as the category five hurricane battered the country. Almost 16 inches (406 mm) of rain was also reported at Fort Pierce on the eastern side of Florida. Charleston, South Carolina reported 6...
September 11, 2017
GFMS flood detection map from hurricane Irma on 9/11/17
Inland flooding from Irma currently over much of Florida and into southeast Georgia; expanding further north on Tuesday  

Pages