Midwest flooding

These NASA images show the rapid increase in flooding along the Mississippi River in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri in the past week. We drove through the area around Alexandria, Missouri earlier this week, as well as through the Des Moines area, and we saw extensive areas under water along the Mississippi, Des Moines, and Skunk Rivers. There is additional crop damage in areas above the flood plains, as standing water from heavy rains has killed the vegetation. From the imagery, you can see that more than ninety percent of the land is not flooded. Despite this, there will be a significant reduction in crop yield this year, and this is at a time with high food prices already, and talk of a global food crisis.

The imagery is from NASA’s Terra satellite, and uses both visible and infrared light. When imaging floods with only visible light, muddy water is virtually indistinguishable from bare earth. By combining infrared and visible light imagery, one can clearly see a strong contrast between water, bare ground, and vegetation.

The images are from NASA’s Earth Observatory Natural Hazards site.

Grace and Peace

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