2002 Mississippi Flooding

May 23, 2002


Referred by: MODIS Science Team, NASA/GSFC
Summary authors & editors: Earth Observatory; Jim Foster

These two false-color satellite images show the area near the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers (top center). The image on the left, taken on April 25, 2002, and the image on the right, taken on May 18, 2002, were acquired from the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), flying on-board NASA’s Terra spacecraft. On these false-color images, the greenish gray colors represents non forested, agricultural lands, black or deep brown is water, the orange-tan shades are a mixture of forests and agricultural lands, and the pinkish-white patches are clouds.

On the image at right, flood waters pouring into the Mississippi's tributaries resulted in water levels 12 feet (4 m) above flood stage. It has been a rainy spring in portions of the Mississippi River basin, and particularly heavy rains during the past 2 weeks have put the "Big Muddy" over its banks at a number of locations. The ensuing floods have killed 8 people and forced the evacuation of thousands from their homes. Southeast Missouri and northeastern Arkansas were hit especially hard, but severe flooding was experienced as well in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

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