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Flooding in South Dakota

Flooding in South Dakota
Flooding in South Dakota

Pushed by snowmelt and heavy rains, rivers rose in South Dakota at the beginning of June 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the top image on June 1, 2011. For comparison, the bottom image, acquired May 29, 2010, shows the same area a year earlier.

These images show portions of the James River in South Dakota, and the Little Minnesota River and Lake Traverse along the South Dakota-Minnesota border. Both images use a combination of visible and infrared light to increase contrast between water and land. Water is navy. Vegetation is green. Bare ground is earth-toned. Clouds range in color from off-white to pale blue-green.

Higher water is apparent in both river systems in 2011. Lake Traverse is conspicuously higher in the east. Although less dramatic, higher water also appears along parts of the James River in the west. Water bodies between the rivers also appear slightly higher in June 2011.

On June 2, 2011, the Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service (AHPS) of the U.S. National Weather Service reported that the James River was at major flood stage near the communities of Stratford and Ashton. Water levels were expected to remain at roughly the same level at both locations for the next several days, the AHPS reported.

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

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