Phenomena

Do Droughts Worsen Floods?

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In recent years many areas have seen record droughts followed by sudden, massive rainfalls. Such wild swings raise the question: does drought-parched soil make flooding worse? That’s the question Grady tackles in this Practical Engineering video, and, as is often the cause in real-world engineering, the answer is complicated.

How quickly water soaks into the spaces between soil particles depends on many factors, including soil type, vegetation, and how much moisture is in the soil already. In general, dry soils initially soak water in more quickly than pre-moistened soil – except when the surface soil is hydrophobic and water-repellent. Check out the full video to learn more! (Video and image credit: Practical Engineering)

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