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Flooding near Williston, North Dakota
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
The Missouri River near Williston, North Dakota, was at major flood stage in early June 2011. The Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service (AHPS) of the U.S. National Weather Service reported on June 13 that the Missouri reached 29.29 feet (8.93 meters) near Williston at 3:30 a.m. local time. This was above the record level of 28.0 feet (8.5 meters) set in 1912, although the AHPS explained that gauge readings could be affected by backwater from the lake downstream.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured these images on June 11, 2011 (top), and June 4, 2010 (bottom). Both images use a combination of visible and infrared light to increase contrast between water and land. Water ranges from electric blue to navy. Vegetation is green. Bare ground is brown. Clouds are pale blue-green.
These images show the area around Williston, including the western part of Lake Sakakawea. In 2010, the Missouri is a thin river meandering through a vegetation-lined valley. A year later, the river fills the valley. Little Muddy River north of Williston also appears to be over its banks.