In mid-May 2002, heavy rains gave rise to floods all across the
midwestern United States, killing 8 people and forcing many more from their
homes. This false-color image shows the junction of the Ohio River and
the Mississippi River where the flooding was at its worst. The image was acquired
by the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS), flying aboard NASA’s Terra spacecraft.
The Mississippi River rose up to 12 feet above flood stage in the area shown
here. Southeast Missouri and northern Arkansas, which are west of the great
river, felt the brunt of the floods. Altogether, more than 50 counties in the
state of Missouri reported flood damage. Farther north in Illinois, Gov. George
Ryan declared the entire state a natural disaster area. Severe floods also
occurred to the east in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. Normally, all the rivers in
this image would resemble thin black lines (left image). Though skies in the
region are clear now, thunderstorms are forecast for later this week, and heavy
rains could lead to continued flooding.
In this false-color image, green shows land surface and black is water. The
pinkish-white patches are clouds.