Retreating Snow and Advancing Water in the Upper Midwest
acquired April 6, 2011 download large image (11 MB, JPEG, 5200x6000)
acquired April 6, 2011 download GeoTIFF file (56 MB, TIFF, 5200x6000)
Retreating Snow and Advancing Water in the Upper Midwest
acquired March 28, 2011 download large image (9 MB, JPEG, 5200x6000)
acquired March 28, 2011 download GeoTIFF file (52 MB, TIFF, 5200x6000)
Retreating Snow and Advancing Water in the Upper Midwest
acquired February 28, 2011 download large image (12 MB, JPEG, 5200x6000)
acquired February 28, 2011 download GeoTIFF file (63 MB, TIFF, 5200x6000)
acquired February 28 - April 6, 2011 download Google Earth file (KMZ)

As snow and ice continued to melt in Upper Midwest, waters rose on the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, prompting flood alerts for cities perched along those waterways. On April 6, 2011, the Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service (AHPS) of the U.S. National Weather Service issued flood warnings for numerous communities in Minnesota. The AHPS reported major flooding along the Minnesota River at Montevideo, and along the Mississippi River at St. Paul. The AHPS also reported moderate and minor flooding in many other locations in the region.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired these images on April 6, 2011 (top), March 28, 2011 (middle), and February 28, 2011 (bottom). All three images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land. Snow is bright turquoise. Water is navy. Iced-over lakes (visible north of the Minnesota River in early April) are bright blue. Vegetation is green. Soil is earth-toned. Clouds are nearly white and cast shadows.

Snow and ice blanket almost the entire region on February 28. Rivers, hills, and cities interrupt the otherwise uniform sea of blue-green, and some vegetation peeks through the snow in Wisconsin. By March 28, snow has mostly retreated to the north side of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, both of which are much more prominent than they were a month earlier. By April 6, snow and ice have nearly left the scene. Some ice lingers on lakes in the northwest, and a stretch of ice remains on the Minnesota River northwest of Montevideo. Since late March, however, higher water is apparent along the Mississippi River. The river appears swollen near St. Paul, and is higher near La Crosse.

The Minnesota State Emergency Operations Center reported that anticipated springtime flooding was being monitored across most of the state, with the center fully activated in late March. On April 6, the Minnesota governor declared a state of emergency for more than 40 counties affected by floods, according to news reports.

  1. References

  2. U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Weather Service. Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Accessed April 7, 2011.
  3. State Emergency Operations Center. Spring 2011 Flooding. Minnesota Department of Public Service. Accessed April 7, 2011.

NASA images courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.

Instrument(s): 
Aqua - MODIS

Retreating Snow and Advancing Water in the Upper Midwest

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Early Spring Floods in Indiana High Waters along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers Rising Waters on the Mississippi River Rising Waters on the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers Rising Waters on the James River Retreating Snow and Advancing Water in the Upper Midwest Receding Snow Sets Stage for Floods near Fargo Spring Flooding in the Upper Midwest Rising Rivers in the U.S. Midwest Rising Waters along the Red River Spring Floods in Saskatchewan Spring Flooding in Manitoba Heavy Rain in Central United States Flooding along the Mississippi River Continued Flooding along the Mississippi Flooding along the James River, South Dakota Flooding in Wake of Levee Breach Spring Floods in the U.S. Midwest and Canada Flooding along the Wabash and Ohio Rivers Flooding at the Junction of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers Floods Spread South along the Mississippi River High Waters along the Mississippi River Floods Continue along the Mississippi River Flooding Continues along the Red River Flooding in Memphis Flooding in Arkansas Flooding reaches Vicksburg, Mississippi Morganza Floodway, 1973 Floodwaters near Natchez Rising Waters on the Lower Mississippi Morganza Spillway Opens in Louisiana Mississippi Floods in Arkansas and Tennessee Mississippi Floods in Missouri and Tennessee Flooding near New Madrid, Missouri Water in the Morganza Floodway Morganza Floodway after Five Days of Flow Mississippi Floods near Vicksburg Sediment Plume in Lake Pontchartrain Lingering Floods along the Mississippi River Lower Mississippi River Remains Swollen Waters Spread Across Floodway above Morgan City Lay of the Land Between Old River and the Mississippi Floodwaters Recede along Wabash and Ohio Rivers Floodwaters Retreat from Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway Lingering Floods in Louisiana Morganza Floodway Lingering Floodwaters near Vicksburg, Mississippi Sediment from the Mississippi Floods Sediment in the Gulf of Mexico Floods Recede around the Wabash-Ohio Confluence
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