Here’s the simplest answer: flash floods occur when too much rain falls, so that the soil cannot absorb all of it, and it begins to run across the surface. When the ground becomes saturated, water begins to flow across the surface, gathering in channels and flowing downhill. So, a massive rainstorm in the highlands can lead to a sudden, unexpected flood in the lowlands, if the rain falls so quickly that the natural drainage in the ground and in existing bodies of water isn’t enough to contain all the rainfall.
Flash floods can be caused by a heavy storm or damaged dam. If an area has not had very much rain and then gets a lot of rain all of a sudden, the ground does not become saturated as easily so the water just pours over it. In this case, the ground is too hard or wet to absorb water, resulting in a flash flood. Flash floods are characterized by a quick influx of water over a seemingly calm area.
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