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Flash floods are the most common flood type in normally-dry channels in arid zones, known as arroyos in the southwest United States and many other names elsewhere.

In that setting, the first flood water to arrive is depleted as it wets the sandy stream bed.

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The deadly flood resulted from a thunderstorm over part of the drainage basin, where steep, bare rock slopes are common and the thin soil was already saturated.

A storm surge, from either a tropical cyclone or an extratropical cyclone, falls within this category.

Research from the NHC (National Hurricane Center) explains: "Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tides.

However, large rivers may have rapid flooding events in areas with dry climate, since they may have large basins but small river channels and rainfall can be very intense in smaller areas of those basins.

Rapid flooding events, including flash floods, more often occur on smaller rivers, rivers with steep valleys, rivers that flow for much of their length over impermeable terrain, or normally-dry channels.