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The Leeds Flood in 2015 : A Timeline

Fascinating Facts

  • Flash floods are extreme versions of a river flooding event. They can happen very quickly, often without warning. They can happen because of a river blockage, for example, a landslide or a dam, giving way and releasing a massive amount of built up water. 
  • Coastal and estuary flooding is caused by high sea tidal surges and waves that damage coastal defences. Tsunamis and hurricanes can cause severe coastal flooding and loss of life.
  • Many ancient communities, like the Ancient Egyptians, relied on the annual flooding of valleys on rivers like the Nile, The Tigris-Euphrates and the Ganges. What were the benefits of flooding to these communities?
  • The 2015 floods are thought to be the worst in UK history, alongside the 1947 floods. In 1947, Britain was struck by ‘the perfect storm’. Massive snowfall followed by a sudden thaw and heavy rain caused severe flooding. Over 100,000 homes were directly affected and over 750,000 hectares of farmland submerged under water. The effects were so bad that the UK received international aid.
  • The Yellow River (Huang He) in China has had the four deadliest flood events in world history. The floods of 1931 resulted in 1 to 4 million deaths.

Black and white photo of a man standing on top of a piece of wood and punting his way across the flood water.  Behind him is a building, partially submerged underwater.
Yellow River Flood, 1931

  • In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, bringing with it blowing winds, heavy rains and surging sea water. New Orleans is in the Gulf of Mexico. Dams have been built to protect the city, but they weren’t enough. The dams broke in several places and 85 percent of the city was flooded. More than 1,000 people died and 100,000 people lost their homes.

A coastguard wearing a life vest and helmet is in the water with an elderly man and woman.  The woman his lying on a roof, with most of her body in the water.
2005 Hurricane Katrina Rescue Mission

  • Scientists can predict where flooding might happen now using the Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS). The GFMS uses NASAs earth observing satellites and other data to predict flooding.