We have had a lot of flooding in the UK in the last week or two, with reports, among other things, of rivers 'bursting their banks'.
The verb 'to burst' implies 'breaking or splitting as a result of internal pressure or puncturing' (ODE). But that is not what happens when a river floods. The water simply rises above the banks and floods the surrounding countryside.
So why do rivers 'burst' their banks? What would be a more accurately descriptive way of saying it?