Tim Bowen provides a flood of literal and figurative expressions containing this word linked to natural disasters.
The devastating floods have brought havoc and misery to the country. Bad floods can be described as major, severe or serious but if they are very bad, as these ones are, then devastating, disastrous and catastrophic can be used.
A flood which suddenly appears in a mountainous area due to a period of extremely heavy rain is called a flash flood, as in ‘Be wary of flash floods in mountain ranges where streams can suddenly turn into five metres of water with almost no warning’.
Various verbs with the basic meaning of cause collocate with flood, e.g. trigger, unleash, result in and lead to, as in 'Floods triggered by torrential rain have killed at least 24 people in the region’. The affected are hit by, devastated by or ravaged by the flood, as in ‘Huge swathes of land along the river have been ravaged by the recent floods’.
Objects in the path of the flood may be swept away or washed away, as in ‘The railway bridge was swept away by the flood’. Rivers do not remain in flood forever and floods eventually subside or recede, meaning that the water level returns to normal.
In a figurative sense, the word flood can also be applied to people and in particular to immigrants, migrants and refugees, as in ‘The country was unable to cope with the flood of refugees’. It can also be used with letters, calls or messages, as in ‘His article provoked a flood of emails from angry readers’ and with the word memories, as in ‘The photo brought back a flood of memories’.