Floods in Australia - Natural Hazards

This wikispace is an information kit on floods, what they are, why they occur and where they occur. Floods are caused usually by heavy rainfall, season flooding or coastal flooding, but can also be a result of a tropical storm or tsunami. Floods have quite a large impact on society. They can kill or injure people, it causes $3-4million of damage every year in Australia and a lot of flora and fauna drown or get stranded and die of starvation. Globally there is an association called the Associated Programme on Flood Management (APFM), who try to provide guidance tools for flood managers and specialists who work in flood managing.

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Definition: A flood is a temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of a normally dry area. It's when there is a rapid accumalation of water from tidal waters or an overflow of water.
Causes: There are 4 main causes of floods; tropical storms, seasonal floods, coastal floods and tsunamis. Floods are mostly occurring in the north where its caused by tropical cyclones and storms, these cyclones only usually occur in the north of Australia because their fuelled by moisture and warmth which is quite heavy in the tropics. Tropical cyclones include a low pressure centre and thunderstorms that create strong winds and heavy rainfall. The flooding at the moment has started in Queensland but is said to spread to most of Australia, this being a special case as it only happens once a century.

Location of Australian floods over the last 5 years
- Map 1


The Queensland floods - (February 2010 - still in progress)
The rain began on the 22nd of February in 2010, and combined with a monsoon and poor farming grounds lead to a special once in a century flood.
Flooded regions so far are: -
  • Karumba
  • Normanton
  • Ingham
  • Townsville
  • Charleville
  • Roma
  • Bolan
  • St George


Map 2

Causes of the floods:
  • One of the main causes of the current Queensland floods is the heavy rainfall its experiencing. The rain has already broken a record for the area of land saturated by rain, this record was previously set 54 years ago.
  • Another main cause of the floods is becaue of two cyclones due to a low pressure system. The cyclones swept the rainfall further over the creating an even more disastrous effect.
  • Many areas in Queensland had been cropped and deforested, this isnt a cause but a reason why the flood has been able to spread so quickly throughout Queensland.
  • Queensland is also experiencing king tides which combined with massive waves (caused by strong winds) they are overflowing and further flooding the coast.
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Social Effects:

  • So far only two people have diead and three been injured.
  • Many people have been left stranded in their houses due to the floods or left totally homeless, many of these people are still living in their town halls or libraries. Food supplies and everyday necessaties are needed to be carried out to the houses in the countryside by helicopter.

Chart 1


Economic Effects:
  • Tens of thousands of cattle have been left to starve because farmers cannot reach them to feed them because they've been stranded in flooded areas in Queensland. This is a massive economic effect as they are worth a lot of money and totally devasted the beef industry.
  • The Federal Goverment is spending immense amounts of money on carrying out supplys to stranded residents and aiding the struggling flooding towns.


Environmental Effects:
  • The negative environmental effects is that many animals habitats are destroyed and animals are being killed due to being stranded and dying of starvation or drowinging in the water.
  • When it floods it also effects the soils and the plantation effecting the animals being able to eat, this damage to the environment eventually leads to damage of the australian flora and fauna ecosystems.
  • Flooding water is also carrying pollution throughout the usually non polluted bushland and harming the environment.
  • As there are quite a few negative effects, there are also positive ones. Australia having previously suffered a drought is now reliefed of the drought.

Chart 3

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Management Strategies:

The federal governement has put quite a few management strategies in place. They have: -
  • Released many books and articles on how to manage a flood in your house and what to do in a flood. In these books they tell people how to pretect them and their propterty in floods such as; to prepare for a flood ask your local council for evacuation plans and detail in the problem areas. Prepare an emergency kit including an emergency phone numbers, portable radio, torch, spare batteries, first aid kit, strong plastic bags for clothing, valuables, and plastic sheets. These books also tell you what to do when you hear a flood warning. Their told to listen to the radio and to protect as much as you can of your belongings move outdoor equipment and vehicles onto higher ground. Plan on what you want to raise or empty (such as fridges) to prepare for the damages that the flood will cause.
  • The governemnt is also trying to figure out what strategies can be implemented to reduce the damage and effects of the flood. They tell the residents who are experiencing flooding to plan what they want to evacuate with them and how to avoid a lot of their furniture and appliances in their house from getting damaged.
  • Construction - their building levees and floodwalls, extra areas in resevoirs for when their is a flood, to capture the water before it overflows.
  • Theres not much that can be done to prevent a flood but a lot can be done and prepared to minimise the damage on houses and personal belongings.

Bibliography -
"flooding:causes of floods." thinkquest. Web. 20 July 2010. <http://library.thinkquest.org/C003603/english/flooding/causesoffloods.shtml>.
"Tropical Cyclone." Wikipedia. Web. 20 July 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_cyclone>.
"Floods and a flood in Australia." Skwirk. Web. 20 July 2010. <http://www.skwirk.com.au/p-c_s-57_u-479_t-1306_c-5030/qld/sose-geography/disasters/natural-hazards/floods-and-a-flood-in-australia>.
"Queensland floods break records: bureau." ninemsn. Web. 20 July 2010. <http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/1021291/queensland-floods-break-records-bureau>.
"North Queensland floods." candobetter.org. Web. 20 July 2010. <http://candobetter.org/node/1045>.
"Tools for Integrated Flood Management." Associated Programme on Flood Management. Web. 20 July 2010. http://www.apfm.info/ifm_tools.htm.
"Floodplain management." waterencyclopedia. Web. 22 July 2010. <"flooding:causes of floods." thinkquest. Web. 20 July 2010. . >.

By Natasha Henderson