Impacts from flooding

Increased temperatures driven by climate change can influence variables that contribute to flooding. Atmospheric rivers, storm surges, and sudden snowmelt can exacerbate flooding risks. In the United States, inland floods are occurring more often while flooding in coastal areas has doubled in the past 30 years.

Flood impacts in Washington

Across Washington, the costs of flooding exceed all other natural disasters. In any given year, there is a better than an 80% chance that 10 or more flood events will occur, and the frequency of floods will increase as the climate changes. The adverse effects of flooding include:

  • Loss of human life
  • Property and infrastructure damage
  • Road closures, erosion, and landslide risks
  • Crop destruction and livestock loss
  • Threats to salmon and other aquatic species
  • Health risks due to water contamination
  • Housing displacement
  • Economic impacts

What we're doing to help

In Washington, county governments generally have responsibility for immediately responding to flooding. During a flood, local and Tribal governments can request assistance from our Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) to help clear debris, operate pumps, fill and stack sandbags, and support other local response efforts. 

We work in partnership with local and Tribal governments to plan for, mitigate, and recover from flooding by providing technical assistance and grants to help communities better plan within a floodplain. These efforts help:

  • Reduce life and property losses
  • Protect and restore natural floodplain functions
  • Decrease erosion
  • Keep water clean
  • Restore and maintain habitat for salmon and other fish and wildlife species