Spring Flooding in the Upper Midwest
acquired April 6, 2011 download large image (3 MB, JPEG, 4096x2732)
Spring Flooding in the Upper Midwest
acquired March 18, 2011 download large image (2 MB, JPEG, 4096x2732)
Spring Flooding in the Upper Midwest
acquired March 7, 2011 download large image (1 MB, JPEG, 4096x2732)

Spring flooding affected multiple cities along the North Dakota-Minnesota border in early April 2011, as winter snow continued to melt. The Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service (AHPS) of the U.S. National Weather Service reported major flooding at Wahpeton, Fargo, and Grand Forks, among others. Major flooding also occurred along the Pembina River at Neche, the AHPS stated. The Associated Press reported that, after April 9, 2011, flood-mitigation efforts shifted north of Fargo, to rural areas along the north-flowing Red River.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired these images on April 6, 2011 (top), March 18, 2011 (middle), and March 7, 2011 (bottom). The images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land. Snow is bright turquoise. Water is navy. Ice-covered water bodies are bright blue. Vegetation is green. Soil is earth-toned. Clouds are nearly white.

A snowy blanket covers most of the region in early March, with just a few curves of the Missouri River interrupting the snow. By mid-March, the snow has begun a significant retreat. By early April, the snow has retreated to north of the North-South Dakota border.

The Red River partially delineates the boundary between North Dakota and Minnesota. Along the river valley (including Grand Forks, Fargo, and Wahpeton), the ground is mostly a dull green-brown in early April. The dark tones may result from saturated soils and/or standing water. (A high-resolution image sequence documents rising waters around Fargo between late March and early April.)

In the west, ice lingers on Lake Sakakawea and part of the Missouri River. Well north of the North-South Dakota border, however, the river appears ice-free.

  1. References

  2. U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Weather Service. Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Accessed April 11, 2011.
  3. Associated Press. (2011, April 10). Red River Valley Flood Fight Shifts North of Fargo. National Public Radio. Accessed April 11, 2011.

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

Instrument(s): 
Terra - MODIS

Spring Flooding in the Upper Midwest

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More in this Event (view all)
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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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