ABSTRACT

100-Year Flood   [open pdf - 587KB]

"Rivers across the Nation seem to be rising to record flood levels almost every year. In Washington, more than one 100-year flood has happened on a few rivers in just the past several years. How can 100-year floods happen so often? The term '100-year flood' is misleading because it leads people to believe that it happens only once every 100 years. The truth is that an uncommonly big flood can happen any year. The term '100-year flood' is really a statistical designation, and there is a 1-in-100 chance that a flood this size will happen during any year. Perhaps a better term would be the '1-in-100 chance flood.' The actual number of years between floods of any given size varies a lot. Big floods happen irregularly because the climate naturally varies over many years. We sometimes get big floods in successive or nearly successive years with several very wet years in a row."

Report Number:
FS-229-96
Publisher:
Date:
1996
Copyright:
Public domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Geological Survey: http://www.usgs.gov/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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