A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land. The European Union (EU) Floods Directive defines a flood as a covering by water of land not normally covered by water. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide. Flooding may result from the volume of water within a body of water, such as a river or lake, which overflows or breaks levees, with the result that some of the water escapes its usual boundaries, or may be due to accumulation of rainwater on saturated ground in an areal flood.
While the size of a lake or other body of water will vary with seasonal changes in precipitation and snow melt, it is not a significant flood unless such escapes of water endanger land areas used by man like a village, city or other inhabited area.
Floods can also occur in rivers, when flow exceeds the capacity of the river channel, particularly at bends or meanders. Floods often cause damage to homes and businesses if they are placed in natural flood plains of rivers. While flood damage can be virtually eliminated by moving away from rivers and other bodies of water, since time out of mind, people have lived and worked by the water to seek sustenance and capitalize on the gains of cheap and easy travel and commerce by being near water. That humans continue to inhabit areas threatened by flood damage is evidence that the perceived value of living near the water exceeds the cost of repeated periodic flooding.
Some floods develop slowly, while others such a flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Additionally, floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins
The word "flood" comes from the Old English flod, a word common to Germanic languages (compare German Flut, Dutch vloed from the same root as is seen in flow, float; also compare with Latin fluctus, flumen). Deluge myths are mythical stories of a great flood sent by a deity or deities to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution, and are featured in the mythology of many cultures.
Famous quotes containing the word flood:
“My ark sings in the sun
At God speeded summers end
And the flood flowers now.”
—Dylan Thomas (19141953)
“Men hold themselves cheap and vile; and yet a man is a fagot of thunderbolts. All the elements pour through his system: he is the flood of the flood, and fire of the fire; he feels the antipodes and the pole, as drops of his blood: they are the extension of his personality.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Myths, as compared with folk tales, are usually in a special category of seriousness: they are believed to have really happened, or to have some exceptional significance in explaining certain features of life, such as ritual. Again, whereas folk tales simply interchange motifs and develop variants, myths show an odd tendency to stick together and build up bigger structures. We have creation myths, fall and flood myths, metamorphose and dying-god myths.”
—Northrop Frye (19121991)