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Explained: What are Flash Floods - UPSC Current Affairs

Sep 04, 2022

Flash Floods- PrepLadder

Today’s edition of our Current Affairs will comprise a discussion on Flash Floods. Read further to upgrade your UPSC CSE knowledge and also understand the topic’s relevance to the UPSC syllabus.

For Prelims: Floods, Flash Floods

For Mains: Floods, Flash Floods, Disaster Management 


 Various parts of Himachal Pradesh experienced torrential rains and flash floods and suffered loss of life and property.

What are Flash Floods, and How are They Different from Floods in General?

  • Flash floods refer to a situation involving stagnation of water and flooding due to excessive or continuous rainfall or other factors. 
  • It differs from general flood to the extent that it occurs in a much shorter span of time i.e. six hours  between the occurrence of the rainfall and peak flood.

Floods in India

  • According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, India is the worst flood-affected country in the world after Bangladesh.
  • It accounts for one-fifth of the global death count due to floods.
  • According to the National Disaster Management Authority, floods occur so frequently that nearly 75 percent of the total Indian rainfall is concentrated over a short monsoon season of four months (June to September), resulting in heavy discharge in rivers.
  • About 40 million hectares of land in the country are liable to floods according to the National Flood Commission, and an average of 18.6 million hectares of land are affected annually.

Flash Floods in India

  • In India, flash floods are often associated with cloudbursts, sudden intense rainfall in a short period of time.
  • Himalayan states additionally face the challenge of overflowing glacial lakes, increasingly formed due to the melting of glaciers.
  • It happens more when rivers are narrow and steep.
  • It also occurs in urban areas located near small rivers, as concretization prevents percolation of water. Example - Chennai, Mumbai, etc.
  • Depression and cyclonic storms in the coastal areas of Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and others also cause flash floods.
  • Wildfires, whose frequency is increasing with climate change, destroys forest and other vegetation, which in turn weakens the soil and makes it less permeable for water to seep through. It may result in increased Flash floods.


  • Monitoring on the ground in hilly areas.
  • Planning development works in a way that is sensitive to the region’s ecology.
  • Mitigation to reduce the extent of damages.
  • The Flash Flood Guidance is designed to provide warnings for flash floods about 6- 12 hrs. in advance.

Also watch a detailed video on Floods [Definition, Causes & History by Himanshu Sharma Sir for your UPSC Preparation:

Probable Question

 What are Flash Floods? Do you think the frequency of Flash Floods has increased due to climate change and deforestation?

News source: The Indian Express

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