Flooding along the Wabash and Ohio Rivers
acquired May 3, 2011 download large image (5 MB, JPEG, 5980x5191)
acquired May 3, 2011 download GeoTIFF file (54 MB, TIFF, 5980x5191)
Flooding along the Wabash and Ohio Rivers
acquired April 14, 2010 download large image (5 MB, JPEG, 5980x5191)
acquired April 14, 2010 download GeoTIFF file (62 MB, TIFF, 5980x5191)
acquired April 14, 2010 - May 3, 2011 download Google Earth file (KML)

Rivers spilled over their banks at the confluence of the Wabash and Ohio in early May 2011. The flood waters inundated homes, businesses, and agricultural fields. The Thematic Mapper on the Landsat 5 satellite captured these natural-color images on May 3, 2011 (top), and April 14, 2010 (bottom).

Rivers were confined to their banks in April 2010, but the area was awash in muddy water 13 months later. In May 2011, vegetation lining the riverbanks provided ghostly outlines of the normal channels. Communities along the river—Mt. Vernon, Henderson, and Evansville—appear drier than nearby floodplains.

By April 30, floods had already blocked many roads, according to the Evansville Courier & Press. Residents had already started moving their belongings to higher ground, if not leaving altogether. On April 30, the Ohio River was forecast to crest on May 2 at the J.T. Myers Lock and Dam at just over 54 feet (16 meters)—the highest flood waters since 1950 in some rural farmlands. The river was predicted to crest on April 30 at 46.4 feet (14.1 meters) in Evansville.

According to the Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service (AHPS), the Ohio River rose to 46.78 feet (14.26 meters) at Evansville, and reached 56.94 feet (17.35 meters) at J.T. Myers Lock and Dam on May 5, 2011. The crest at the Lock and Dam was the highest recorded since 1937. Meanwhile, the Wabash River rose to 23.67 feet (7.21 meters) at New Harmony (north of the area shown here)—the highest water level since 1943.

Water levels were expected to slowly drop at all three locations, AHPS reported. On May 6, 2011, The Republic reported that flood waters had finally started to recede throughout southern Indiana, and officials had begun to survey damage. No tally of the total cost was yet available.

  1. References

  2. Associated Press. (2011, April 30). Indiana rivers near crest as more rains approach. Evansville Courier & Press. Accessed May 5, 2011.
  3. Associated Press. (2011, May 6). As floodwaters recede in S. Ind., officials begin assessing damage to homes, businesses. The Republic. Accessed May 6, 2011.
  4. National Weather Service. Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Accessed May 6, 2011.

NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Landsat data provided by the United States Geological Survey. Caption by Michon Scott.

Landsat 5 - TM

Flooding along the Wabash and Ohio Rivers

Image Location
Image Location
More in this Event (view all)
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 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