NASA: Receding Snow Sets Stage for Floods near Fargo - Retreating Snow and Advancing Water in the Upper Midwest - EE.UU. - 07-04-11

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Receding Snow Sets Stage for Floods near Fargo

Receding Snow Sets Stage for Floods near Fargo

Receding Snow Sets Stage for Floods near Fargo

Receding Snow Sets Stage for Floods near Fargo

In February 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned citizens of the Midwestern United States to prepare for a difficult spring with major floods. Those predictions are being fulfilled in North Dakota (N.D.) and Minnesota (Minn.), as melting snow and spring rains have raised rivers to and above their banks.
The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite acquired these three natural-color views of snow cover and melting in the area around Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn. The top image was captured on April 2, 2011, a few days before the river approached major flood stage. The middle image shows some spring melting by March 26, 2011, and the bottom image shows a snowy blanket over the landscape on December 12, 2010.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, gages along the Red River of the North in Fargo recorded the river height at 38.16 feet (11.63 meters) at 12:15 p.m. Central Daylight Time on April 8. Major flood stage for the city is considered 30 feet. North of Fargo, at a station near Thompson, N.D., Red River gages recorded the river height at 54.36 feet (16.57 meters) at 12:15 p.m. CDT on April 8. The Red River flows north from Fargo to Thompson.
The Red River of the North forms the border between Minnesota and North Dakota, flowing into Canada and eventually Lake Winnipeg. The river runs north, and because the spring thaw tends to expand northward in sync with the flow of meltwaters from the south, river flow tends to accumulate as it moves north. Sometimes the spring flows also run into ice dams in areas that have not yet thawed. The geology of the area also contributes to the tendency to flood.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reported that the river was expected to crest between 39 to 40 feet sometime on April 10. The record flood for the Fargo-Moorhead area was 40.84 feet (12.45 meters) in 2009. Weather forecasts were calling for as much as 1.5 inches of new rain or snow over the weekend, though that was expected take a few days to affect the river.
Citizens and local government groups spent much of the week deploying sandbags and preparing for flood waters. U.S. President Obama declared a federal emergency in the area on April 7, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government institutions to provide disaster aid.
  1. References

  2. Federal Emergency Management Agency (2011, March 7) President Declares Emergency For North Dakota. Accessed April 8, 2011.
  3. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2011, February 18) Another Spring of Major Flooding Likely in North Central U.S. Accessed April 8, 2011.
  4. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (n.d.) Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Accessed April 8, 2011.
  5. North Dakota State University (n.d.) The Fargo Flood Home Page. Accessed April 8, 2011.
  6. U.S. Geological Survey (n.d.) USGS Gage 05054000 Red River of the North at Fargo, ND. Accessed April 8, 2011.
More images of this event in Natural Hazards
NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team and the United States Geological Survey. Caption by Michael Carlowicz.
Instrument: 
EO-1 - ALI

Retreating Snow and Advancing Water in the Upper Midwest

Retreating Snow and Advancing Water in the Upper Midwest

Retreating Snow and Advancing Water in the Upper Midwest

Retreating Snow and Advancing Water in the Upper Midwest


As snow and ice continued to melt in Upper Midwest, waters rose on the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, prompting flood alerts for cities perched along those waterways. On April 6, 2011, the Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service (AHPS) of the U.S. National Weather Service issued flood warnings for numerous communities in Minnesota. The AHPS reported major flooding along the Minnesota River at Montevideo, and along the Mississippi River at St. Paul. The AHPS also reported moderate and minor flooding in many other locations in the region.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired these images on April 6, 2011 (top), March 28, 2011 (middle), and February 28, 2011 (bottom). All three images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land. Snow is bright turquoise. Water is navy. Iced-over lakes (visible north of the Minnesota River in early April) are bright blue. Vegetation is green. Soil is earth-toned. Clouds are nearly white and cast shadows.
Snow and ice blanket almost the entire region on February 28. Rivers, hills, and cities interrupt the otherwise uniform sea of blue-green, and some vegetation peeks through the snow in Wisconsin. By March 28, snow has mostly retreated to the north side of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, both of which are much more prominent than they were a month earlier. By April 6, snow and ice have nearly left the scene. Some ice lingers on lakes in the northwest, and a stretch of ice remains on the Minnesota River northwest of Montevideo. Since late March, however, higher water is apparent along the Mississippi River. The river appears swollen near St. Paul, and is higher near La Crosse.
The Minnesota State Emergency Operations Center reported that anticipated springtime flooding was being monitored across most of the state, with the center fully activated in late March. On April 6, the Minnesota governor declared a state of emergency for more than 40 counties affected by floods, according to news reports.
  1. References

  2. U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Weather Service. Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Accessed April 7, 2011.
  3. State Emergency Operations Center. Spring 2011 Flooding. Minnesota Department of Public Service. Accessed April 7, 2011.
More images of this event in Natural Hazards
NASA images courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Michon Scott.
Instrument: 
Aqua - MODIS

NASA: Receding Snow Sets Stage for Floods near Fargo - Retreating Snow and Advancing Water in the Upper Midwest - EE.UU. - 07-04-11


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