NASA MODIS Image of the Day: May 11, 2011 - Floods in the U.S. Midwest

Status Report From: NASA MODIS Web
Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011



On May 8, 2011 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite passed over the region and captured this false color image.

The city of Memphis, Tennessee lies under a thin veil of cloud to the east of the river in the lower section of the image.

The state of Mississippi lies south of Tennessee and Arkansas is found to the west. This false color imagery uses a combination of infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land. Vegetation appears bright green while soil is brown. Clouds appear off-white to a pale blue-green, and water varies in color from electric blue to navy. Thanks to this color scheme, it is abundantly clear that water covers a significant portion of the central third of the image, with a very broad band of navy-colored water stretching across the green land from northeast to southwest. A stunning contrast is revealed by scrolling over the image, which will allow viewing a false color image captured by the MODIS aboard the Terra satellite on January 28, 2011. Here the Mississippi River can be seen as a thin, curling, green-blue line as it meanders through tan and green land. To the west, the upper White River valley appears as a wide tan band. On May 8, the tan valley is filled with water and the meanders of the Mississippi are covered with a broad band of blue floodwater. On May 10, the National Weather Service reported that the flood crest along the Mississippi is forecast to move slowly downstream towards New Orleans during the next three weeks. The White River, the Arkansas River, and Big Black River are just a few major tributaries that may be impacted by the Mississippi main stem flooding. Further south, in Louisiana, it was predicted that about 3 million acres could go under water, with 2,500 people inside the floodway affected and another 22,500 likely to be affected by backwater flooding.

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