Flooding near Huron, South Dakota

Flooding near Huron, South Dakota
  • Credit:

    NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption by Michon Scott.

Floodwaters closed roads, filled basements, and soaked agricultural fields in southeastern South Dakota in late March 2010. A combination of snowmelt, ice jams, and heavy rains drove the Vermillion, Big Sioux, and James Rivers over their banks. Some residents described the flooding as the worst in living memory, according to the Associated Press.

Part of the James River appears in this false-color image captured by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite on March 20, 2010. It shows a largely agricultural area south of Huron, including the towns of Alpena and Woonsocket. Vegetated areas appear in shades of red and pink. Water appears navy blue. Where a thin layer of water sits on cropland, the combination of water and land appears muddy purple. Bright white areas may be snow or ice. A road—indicated by a thin beige line—connects the towns. A temporary river has formed along this highway, extending from the northwest toward Woonsocket. What appears to be a shallow, irregularly shaped water body extends from this temporary river, filling the center of the image. Small blue spots appear throughout the scene, and they are probably small temporary ponds formed by the flooding.

  1. References

  2. Associated Press. (2010, March 16). Residents of several S.D. towns grapple with floods. Sioux City Journal. Accessed March 24, 2010.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    March 20, 2010
  • Visualization Date:

    March 24, 2010
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - ASTER
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration