International Floods

There were 16 international floods reported across 17 countries throughout October 2018. At least 1,000 people died and over 420,000 people were displaced.

Internationally significant floods included:

USA
A total of 17 people have died and 6,700 displaced after Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida Panhandle. As the hurricane passed over the Gulf of Mexico before reaching the Florida Panhandle, located in the north-western part of Florida, it was elevated from a Category 1 to a Category 4 storm. This was perhaps due to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The worst affected towns were Panama City, Mexico Beach and Port St Joe. Hurricane Michael is the fourth in a string of hurricanes to hit the USA in 15 months, with Hurricane Florence still fresh in the memories of North Carolina residents. The hurricane extended more than 160 km inland and brought rainfall of 254 mm or greater to the Pandhandle which caused flash flooding across the area (read more hereherehere and here).

Indonesia
At least 27 people have died after torrential rains caused flash floods and landslides in the Indonesian Island of Sumatra. As a result of the destructive force, more than 500 homes in the provinces of North and West Sumatra were flooded and three suspension bridges were destroyed. Among those killed were 11 children when the flash flooding swept through a school.  The flash floods damaged roads and electricity poles and cut off access to several villages. Flood waters reached up to two metres in the Mandailing Natal regency in North Sumatra. Several houses were swept away as a result (read more herehere and here).

France
At least 12 people have died and 1,000 displaced after heavy rain caused deadly flash flooding in the Aude region of southern France. Three months’ worth of rain fell in one night which caused rivers to reach unprecedented levels. The flood waters tore through buildings and several people were swept away in the flood waters. The floods caused a small bridge to collapse, several roads to be cut off and vehicles overturned (read more herehere and here).

Sri Lanka
Nine people have died and 5,000 displaced after a storm brought severe rains and flash flooding to Sri Lanka. A total of 330 mm of rain fell in one night which caused flooding and landslides in the districts of Kalutara, Galle and Tahnapura. The people who have been displaced as a result of the flooding were strewn across 21 temporary relocation centres (read more here and here).

Spain
Flash flooding due to torrential rains has resulted in 12 deaths on the Spanish island of Mallorca. The island experienced 230 mm of rainfall which caused rivers to burst their banks, sending raging floodwaters into nearby towns. The eastern town of Sant Llorenc was most badly affected by the flooding. Spanish tennis player, Rafael Nadal opened his sports centre in the nearby town of Manacor for the affected residents to take refuge from the floodwaters. In the town of Colonia de Sant Pere, several cars were reported to be dragged into the sea (read more hereherehere and here).

Central America
At least 18 people have died and 9,000 displaced after heavy rains brought flash flooding and landslides to the nations of Costa Rica,Nicaragua, El Savador, Honduras and Guatemala. The heavy rain was caused by two low pressure systems along Central America and the Carribean. The downpour started on 4 October and continued to 9 October, bringing a total of 300-400 mm of rain to the region. The intensity of the downpour was exacerbated by Hurricane Michael which brought a moist flow of Pacific air inland over Central America. Thousands of people were evacuated and moved into shelters. Honduras and Costa Rica were most severely affected affected by the floods (read more herehere, and here).

Italy
A total of 11 people have died due to fierce storms and flooding in Italy. Fatalities occurred throughout the country – in Naples, Liguira, Lazio and Veneto – due to flooding and falling structures and trees. Venice experienced flash flooding from the coastal surge which caused important landmark, St Mark’s Basilica to be inundated. St Mark’s Square reached a recorded depth of 1.1 m. Locals describe the flooding in Venice as like nothing they had ever seen before. The flooding problem has been partly attributed to the lack of maintenance of the country’s river beds (read more here and here).