Types of floods

Some would like to see the causes of floods as types of floods, but on this page we shall look at three major flood types: Flash floods, Rapid on-set floods and Slow on-set floods.

Flash floods

This kind occurs within a very short time (2-6 hours, and sometimes within minutes) and is usually as a result of heavy rain, dam break or snow melt. Sometimes, intense rainfall from slow moving thunderstorms can cause it.  Flash floods are the most destructive and can be fatal, as people are usually taken by surprise. There is usually no warning, no preparation and the impact can be very swift and devastating.

Rapid on-set floods

Similar to flash floods, this type takes slightly longer to develop and the flood can last for a day or two only. It is also very destructive, but does not usually surprise people like Flash floods. With rapid on-set floods, people can quickly put a few things right and escape before it gets very bad.


Slowon-set floods

This kind is usually as a result of water bodies over flooding their banks. They tend to develop slowly and can last for days and weeks. They usually spread over many kilometers and occur more in flood plains (fields prone to floods in low-lying areas). The effect of this kind of floods on people is more likely to be due to disease, malnutrition or snakebites.