Flooding in the Missouri Basin

Flooding in the Missouri Basin

The Missouri River remained flooded along the borders between South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska in late July 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured the top image on July 25, 2011. For comparison, the bottom image shows the same area a year earlier, on July 17, 2010.

These images use a combination of visible and infrared light to increase contrast between water and land. Water is navy blue. Depending on land cover, land appears green or brown. Clouds are pale blue-green and cast shadows.

In 2010, the Missouri River virtually disappears from the satellite sensor’s view along parts of its route. In 2011, the river remains visible throughout, and appears especially swollen west of Gayville, South Dakota, and south of Sioux City, Iowa.

On July 26, 2011, the Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service (AHPS) of the U.S. National Weather Service reported minor flooding near Gayville and Sioux City, and moderate flooding near Decatur, Blair, and Omaha. The AHPS also reported flooding at numerous communities downstream on the Missouri, and flooding along parts of the James River in South Dakota.

  1. References

  2. National Weather Service. Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Accessed July 26, 2011.

Images & Animations


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  • Data Date:

    July 25, 2011
  • Visualization Date:

    July 26, 2011
  • Sensor(s):

    Aqua - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration