Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Flood and Flash Flood

Flood VS Flash Flood

Flooding is a big problem encountered in many places all over the world. It causes massive destruction to both lives and property which can take some time to recover from. While in general it is caused by too much rainfall, there are instances when weather plays little role in causing floods.

There is often confusion between using the terms flood and flash flood. Most people tend to use them interchangeably thinking they both mean the same thing. While they may share some similar characteristics and features, they are ultimately different from each other.

Flood is used to describe the presence of water in areas that are normally dry. As previously mentioned, rain is the number one culprit for most flooding in different countries. Highly populated areas like cities often experience being flooded during rain because water has limited outlets to pass through. But it’s not only bad weath er that can cause flood to happen.

Water formations that can be found inland like lakes, rivers, and man-made reservoirs can cause flooding even when there is no rain. When physical structures like rocks and soil that contain them collapse, water can overflow to lower regions where towns and cities are usually located. This can happen quickly and with no warning thus the term flash flood applies.

The word flood can be used as a general term to identify any form of water overflow. It can be used to describe home flooding caused by faulty pipes or an overflowing bath tub. It usually happens gradually until one area can’t contain the volume of water and it overflows to other parts. Flash floods, on the other hand, occur almost instantaneously. The rise in water level is swift and much more powerful which is why it’s much more dangerous compared to an ordinary flooding caused by rain.

Floods can cause harm to life and dama ge to structures but with ample time to prepare and proper weather forecasting, it can be minimized. Flash floods are far deadlier in nature because there is little time to react and since they come from a large source of water, they pack quite a punch. It’s quite easy to mistake one term with another but depending on the situation, there’s definitely a big difference between what flood and flash flood is.


1. Flood, in general is caused by rain and bad weather while flash flood is the result of water overflowing from a contained location like a lake, river or reservoirs.

2. Flood is a generic term that can be used to describe any type of water overflow while flash floods are specific to broken dams, overflowing lakes and clogged rivers.

3. Flood happens gradually while flash flood occurs swiftly and almost instantaneously.

4. It’s much safer to experience flood by rain than a flash flood that seemingly comes out of nowhere without warning.

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