chapter5 - Rivers and Flooding Facts Water covers 70% of...

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Rivers and Flooding
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Facts • Water covers 70% of the earth • Since 1900, floods have been responsible for 10,000 deaths and $1 billion in damages • Flooding is a natural process that poses as a hazard for people living in flood prone areas
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Mississippi River • In 1973, the Mississippi River flooded despite flood control dams and caused huge destruction of property and flooded farmlands • In 1993 a huge flood whose recurrence interval exceeded 100 years caused 50 deaths and $10 billion in damages • A rare combination of meteorological events • Wet autumn, spring snowmelt; stationary storm systems contributed to heavy (record) rainfall
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Contd. • Levees built for flood control since 1718 • Most of these failed in 1993 • Failure of levees downstream of St. Louis may have saved St. Louis from flooding as the waters came dangerously close to topping the floodwalls • Flood control levees give a false sense of security!
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Rivers • Flood plains – the area on the banks of the stream channel is a source of rich (alluvial) soils. • For more than 200 years, Americans have lived and worked on floodplains • Floodplains is frequently inundated with overflow from the stream channel
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Streams and Rivers • The precipitation falling on the land surface either evaporates, infiltrates into the soil or runs off into streams. • The runoff from the land surface to streams may merge into rivers. • The region drained by a single river through a point is called a drainage basin or watershed
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Rivers (contd.) Rivers are usually narrow in channel and steep in the headwaters (where rivers originate) At its base-level: lowest level to which a river may erode – the base level could be the ocean or a lake; rivers are flatter
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chapter5 - Rivers and Flooding Facts Water covers 70% of...

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