Unusually heavy rains hit Morocco last week, giving rise to floods that killed more than 60 people. The above false-color image (right) displays some of the worst of the flooding near the city of Rabat, located on Morocco’s west coast. The image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument, flying aboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft.
Most of the casualties were due to flash flooding throughout the western half of Morocco. The water from the flash floods has drained into the now swollen river and lakebeds that appear as solid blue in the image. The floodwaters washed away loose sediment from the surrounding countryside and carried it to the Atlantic Ocean to form the sediment plumes that appear along the coast. Normally, hardly any standing water is visible in MODIS imagery of this region of Morocco (left, acquired November 7, 2002). In these false color images land is green and tan, clouds are white and light blue, and water is dark blue and black.