The skies over southeastern Kansas were filled with a mix of cloud and haze on July 2, 2007, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the top image. But beneath the clouds, the flood-swollen Neosho and Verdigris Rivers and tributaries can be seen. Normally these river rivers would be too small to be visible in MODIS images (as shown by the lower image from June 8, 2007), but on July 2, the rivers paint a wide blue ribbon across the Kansas plains. Water is normally black in this type of false-color image, which is made with visible and infrared light. On July 2, the rivers are blue partly because sediment colors the water and partly because sunlight is reflecting off the surface of the water. Clouds are light turquoise and white, plant-covered land is green, and bare earth (largely freshly planted, rectangular farm fields) is tan. Additional flooding in western Missouri is visible in the large images.
By July 2, the floods had forced thousands from their homes throughout Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, reported CNN. The flood-swollen Verdigris River, image center, surrounded an oil refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas, where more than 42,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the river, said CNN. The polluted portion of the river is under clouds in this image. The storms and the flooding in Kansas led President Bush to declare a major disaster in the state, CNN added. The Neosho River, along the right side of the image, crested at 35 feet, 10 feet above flood stage, at its highest point on July 2, and the Verdigris reached its highest point, 49 feet, 19 feet above flood stage, in Independence, Kansas, said the National Weather Service.
Daily images of Kansas are available from the MODIS Rapid Response System.
NASA images courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.