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Popular myths about flooding in Western Washington

Fact Sheet 2011-3146

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Abstract

Floods are the most destructive natural hazard in the Nation, causing more deaths and financial loss in the 20th century than any other natural disaster. The most significant 20 riverine floods of the 20th century for which data are available have killed more than 1,843 people and caused more than $50 billion (uninflated) in damages (Perry, 2000). One of the most common means of describing the severity of a flood is a comparison to the "100-year flood." In the last decade, increasing attention has been paid to the fact that some regions, notably the Pacific Northwest, have experienced numerous so-called "100-year" floods in the span of a few years. Part of the confusion stems from the statistical nature of the "100-year flood" (Greene, 1996); however, another part of the confusion is the fact that the statistics are calculated for specific sites (streamgages) on specific rivers, rather than for a region as a whole. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey have begun to investigate how the likelihood of flooding may be determined on a regional basis (Troutman and Karlinger, 2003).

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Popular myths about flooding in Western Washington
Series title:
Fact Sheet
Series number:
2011-3146
Year Published:
2011
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Washington Water Science Center
Description:
4 p.
First page:
1
Last page:
4
Number of Pages:
4
Country:
United States
State:
Washington
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
N