I was making a phone conversation with one of my clients. I had promised him to have a meeting at a certain place, but I wanted to cancel that meeting, because most of the roads on my route had accumulated rain water and it was raining heavily. To point that out, I used the phrase

'The roads are blocked because of heavy rain'

Can you let me know a key word that could describe the road condition?

  • 1
    Another possible word: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_flood. (Check out a photo of a flash-flooded road on that page.) Jul 20, 2015 at 16:28
  • 2
    Do you want an answer in British English, American English, or another form of English, including hybrid-English?
    – user20792
    Jul 20, 2015 at 22:16

8 Answers 8


I would say something like:

The roads are flooded by heavy rain.
The roads are waterlogged. (this usage might be Indian English-specific)
Most of the roads have been rendered impassable by heavy rain.

Examples from the media:

  • "Many roads remain impassable and are covered by water." (source)
  • "Another day of downpours brought more water-covered roads. Several roads in South Moorhead flooded Wednesday and Thursday North Fargo got the brunt of it." (source)
  • 2
    It should be "heavy rain" not "heavy rains". A singular rain event (even if it stops and starts over a few days) is the uncountable "rain". "Rains" implies many rain events over a season, e.g. "the roads have been flooded by the monsoon rains".
    – AndyT
    Jul 21, 2015 at 11:57
  • @AndyT - thank you for the comment! Very interesting. I must have copied the Russian way of using "rains" in such sentences. Jul 21, 2015 at 12:35
  • 4
    I agree with 1 and 3, but I'd question 2. I understand "waterlogged" to mean saturated with water, not covered with water. Like if you are out in the rain, your clothes might get waterlogged. If water has soaked into a field, so that the dirt is damp and spongy, we say that it is waterlogged. But if the field is under water, we say that it is flooded.
    – Jay
    Jul 21, 2015 at 13:39
  • @Jay - Thank you for the comment! I've done a seach just now on Google News. There are numerous instances of "waterlogged roads" in Indian English media. This use of the word could be typical to India (and Pakistan?) only. I might mention this in parentheses. Jul 21, 2015 at 13:44

Surface water is another word for rainwater – more specifically, rainwater that falls on the ground, on roofs and roads, pavements and paths.

As an example usage similar to OP's context, consider...

I was forced to drive slowly due to the pools of surface water on the roads.

  • 2
    This just sounds like you're either complaining about large puddles, or that you've forgotten the word "flood".
    – talrnu
    Jul 20, 2015 at 16:48
  • 1
    @talmu: BBC Weather, for example, use phrasing such as Some heavy showers and lying surface water on the roads of northern England this morning. As it's only "lying" (and only "surface water"), I'd normally expect any such water to be quite shallow, and to drain away within a few hours at most (often, mere minutes after it stops raining). But when roads are flooded, that to me suggests something much longer-lasting. Jul 20, 2015 at 17:06
  • I generally agree (though "flood" doesn't imply any degree of duration, just a quantity of water). However, the OP asks for a description of conditions that prevent travel entirely. "Pools of surface water" are just puddles, which any car can drive through. If you're trying to excuse yourself from a business meeting, the excuse you provide for your inability to travel had better be substantial. Assuming it's accurate, "flood" is therefore vastly preferable to "pools of surface water".
    – talrnu
    Jul 20, 2015 at 17:57
  • It also doesn't take a lot of water to make it a bad idea to drive - two feet will wash away your car, and I'd be wary of driving in even one foot for any distance due to risk of hydrolock if too much water gets in the engine air intake.
    – Random832
    Jul 21, 2015 at 1:40
  • 1
    @Random832: Two feet? I've aquaplaned hundreds of yards over half an inch of lying surface water on a motorway at 70+ mph - and that's in a decent car with good tyres. And I assume we're talking about motorway (US freeway) driving here, since that's usually how one drives to a business meeting. Only country roads are likely to be under two foot of water - probably from burst riverbanks, not direct rainfall. Floods on those roads might mean you can't visit the grandparents at Xmas. But unless you actually live in the sticks, they won't stop you getting to offsite work meetings. Jul 21, 2015 at 2:07

(A slight deviation to @FumbleFingers' answer) Standing water is quite possibly the term.

  • standing water usually describes a long-term pool, "The standing water in the backyard is breeding mosquitos", so I would avoid using this to describe a temporary flood across a road (until it lasts days without receding)
    – Plato
    Jul 20, 2015 at 23:56

There is really nothing that unnatural with your own words (which is often the case here; people tend to overthink things):

Most of the roads on my route have accumulated rain water and it is raining heavily.

I might reverse the terms, because and can suggest a cause-and-effect relationship or a Step-1, Step-2 sequence:

It is raining heavily and (to my knowledge) most of the roads on my route have accumulated rain water.

If in the US, you could add:

According to the National Weather Service there are Flash Flood Warnings in the area.

And remind your client of the possible peril:

I really don't think it is safe for either you or me to risk driving over a low-lying area where there is water over the road

All the above are natural phrases for a telephone conversation.

Or just keep it simple:

It's raining hard and there's a lot of water on the roads (in my area). [It's not safe to drive.]


A slightly alternative phrasing would be

The roads are inundated and impassable.


Puddles, large or small forming everywhere on the road after a few showers is appropriate in the Indian context. The puddles form not because of the rain being heavy or light but because of improper laying of the road.

  • 1
    But we could drive through puddles....
    – shin
    Apr 29, 2019 at 10:39

The roads are flooded. Very common. Very simple.


One option would be to say


  • 1
    Please include an explanation of why this is a good one. Jul 21, 2015 at 0:18
  • 1
    Your typo notwithstanding, answers should include some explanation of why it is appropriate, so that future users may benefit.
    – jimsug
    Jul 21, 2015 at 0:33

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