It doesn’t really matter if it’s a reference to anything. Joyce, like me when I was little, was taught that the Bible was literal truth. That the Flood is actually a “reference” to anything else that isn’t 100% exactly what Genesis says (either time) would be considered heresy.
For example, I don’t believe Young Earth Creationists commonly believe in an Ice Age. It was something the books I read tried to handwave away somehow. If they do, it was probably something that postdated the Flood rather than preceded it.
That said, there are many theories as to what historical event various flood myths are referencing. Possibly floods just happen a lot, who knows.
Young Earth Creationists typically do believe in an Ice Age that lasted a couple of hundred years after the flood.