April 10, 2002
It's clear to see from this Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) false color image of the topography at the confluence of the Missouri, Mississippi and Illinois Rivers (clockwise from the left) just why it's called a "flood plain". At the resolution of this digital elevation image, the flood plain looks as flat (and green) as a billiard table, explaining why a modest rise in the river can easily flood thousands of hectares (or 2.47 thousands of acres). Higher ground is colored yellow and brown. The city of St. Louis, Missouri is perched on the west bank of the Mississippi in the lower right of the image, across the river to the southwest of oxbow Horseshoe Lake and noticeably above the flood plain. Moderate winter snowfall has forecasters predicting the rivers will crest below flood stage, welcome news for area residents.