Flooding in Arkansas
acquired May 10, 2011 download large image (11 MB, JPEG, 5200x6000)
Flooding in Arkansas
acquired April 29, 2011 download large image (8 MB, JPEG, 5200x6000)

More than a million acres of Arkansas farmland was submerged by spring floods in early May 2011, the state farm bureau reported. Preliminary research by the Arkansas Farm Bureau indicated that the damage caused by the floods could exceed $500 million. Reuters reported that, between Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi, a total of nearly 3 million acres had been inundated. Affected crops included wheat, corn, soybeans, and rice, the last crop likely to be the hardest hit.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired the top image on May 10, 2011, and the bottom image on April 29, 2011. Both images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land. Water varies in color from electric blue to navy. Clouds (visible in the May image) are pale blue-green. Vegetation is green, and soil is brown. Both images show severe flooding along the Mississippi River.

In the 11-day period separating these images, water has risen somewhat along the Mississippi, but more obvious changes occur west of that river, where flood waters have collected. Two of the largest expanses of standing water visible in the May 10 image—one west of Helena, and the other east of Harrisburg—sit on top of agricultural fields. Although clouds obscure parts of the Black River on May 10, flooding along the White River, farther south, is apparent.

On May 11, the Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service (AHPS) of the U.S. National Weather Service reported that the St. Francis River reached 39.52 feet (12.05 meters) in Madison at 9:00 a.m. CDT. The AHPS also reported that the Mississippi River reached 46.84 feet (14.28 meters) in Osceola at 9:00 a.m. CDT, 47.7 feet (14.5 meters) in Memphis at 8:45 a.m. CDT, and 56.46 feet (17.21 meters) in Helena at 9:00 a.m. CDT. All sites were in major flood stage, but water levels appeared to be slowly declining in all localities except Helena, where a slight increase (to 56.5 feet) was projected.

  1. References

  2. Arkansas Farm Bureau. (2011, May 10). Flooding to cost Arkansas agriculture over $500 million? Delta Farm Press. Accessed May 11, 2011.
  3. National Weather Service. Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Accessed May 11, 2011.
  4. Plume, K. (2011, May 10). “Once in a lifetime” flood submerges farm land. Reuters. Accessed May 11, 2011.

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

Aqua - MODIS

Flooding in Arkansas

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 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 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