NASA: It is happening now - Está sucediendo ahora - 19-04-11 - Dust Storm in Oklahoma and Texas - Wild Fires In Texas. EE.UU.

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Dust Storm in Oklahoma and Texas

Dust Storm in Oklahoma and Texas

As smoke from wildfires blew through Texas, so did a dust storm. Originating in the southwestern corner of Kansas, multiple plumes of dust blew in a giant arc over Oklahoma and Texas. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image on April 15, 2011.
Dust and smoke plumes mingle in this image, but can be easily distinguished from each other. Smoke plumes are pale gray, and arise from hotspots—areas of unusually high surface temperatures detected by MODIS—outlined in red. The dust plumes are tan, similar in color to the ground surface in this region. The parallel dust plumes mimic the southwestern margin of a nearby cloudbank. The clouds may be associated with the same weather system that stirred the dust.
As of April 12, 2011, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported that drought conditions prevailed in eastern Colorado, western Kansas, and virtually all of Oklahoma and Texas. Drought conditions in this region ranged from moderate to extreme. Farther south, in roughly the same area where large wildfires burned near the U.S. Mexico border, drought conditions rated as exceptional.
  1. References

  2. Artusa, A. (2011, April 12). U.S. Drought Monitor. Accessed April 15, 2011.
NASA image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.
Aqua - MODIS

Wildfires in Texas

Wildfires in Texas

Since April 6, more than a million acres have burned throughout the state of Texas, according to the Texas Forest Service. This image, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, shows conditions on April 15, 2011. Wind whipped both smoke and dust southeast across the state. The fires detected by MODIS are marked in red.
The image illustrates one of the primary reasons fire danger is extremely high in Texas: strong winds. Warm temperatures, dry vegetation, and low humidity are also contributing to hazardous fire conditions. Normally a rainy month, March 2011 was the driest March on record, said the Texas Forest Service. Plentiful rains in 2010 spurred grass and shrubs to grow. The recent lack of rain, warm temperatures, and low humidity have turned all of that vegetation into dry tinder, creating unprecedented fire danger.
As of April 18, at least 23 large wildfires were burning in Texas. Seven of the largest are labeled in the image. The image also shows two wildfires burning in northern Mexico. So far in 2011, firefighters have responded to 7,807 fires, which have burned 1,528,714 acres of land and 244 structures, said Governor Rick Perry in an April 16 request to President Obama for a federal declaration of a major disaster.
Most of the seven fires shown in the image are larger than ten thousand acres, and many have threatened communities. As of April 18, the Texas Forest Service reported their status as follows:
  • Cannon Fire Complex Fire – Three fires collectively burned 63,427 acres; fire is 80 percent contained;
  • Cooper Mountain Ranch Fire – 152,000 acres burned; 4 homes destroyed; 50 percent contained;
  • Jackson Ranch Fire – 2,200 acres burned; community evacuated; 50 percent contained;
  • PK West – 50,739 acres burned; 31 homes destroyed and 495 threatened; 25 percent contained;
  • Swenson Fire – 122,500 acres burned; 90 percent contained;
  • Wichita Complex Fire – 11,785 acres burned; 20 homes destroyed; Shepard Air Force Base and surrounding housing threatened; 90 percent contained;
  • Wildcat Fire – 103,772 acres burned; multiple communities evacuated; unknown containment.
  1. References

  2. CNN. (2011, April 18). Fires burn across Texas with no end in sight. Accessed April 18, 2011.
  3. State of Texas Office of the Governor Rick Perry. (2011, April 17). Gov. Perry requests major disaster declaration as extreme wildfire danger continues. Accessed April 18, 2011.
  4. Texas Forest Service. (2011, April 18). Texas Forest Service incident management situation report. Accessed April 18, 2011.
  5. Texas Forest Service. (2011, April 13). Large area of Texas at risk Thursday as wildfire conditions are expected to worsen.
  6. USDA Forest Service. (2011, April 18). Fire detection maps. Accessed April 18, 2011.
More images of this event in Natural Hazards
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.
Aqua - MODIS
NASA: It is happening now - Está sucediendo ahora - 19-04-11 - Dust Storm in Oklahoma and Texas - Wild Fires In Texas. EE.UU.

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