NASA showed what one of the worst floods in a decade looks like from space

The Red River (Red River) Valley in Minnesota, North Dakota and Manitoba faced one of the strongest

floods per decade.A strong spring blizzard, repeated downpours and melting winter ice filled the North Red River and its tributaries with water, forcing them out of their banks onto a wide flat floodplain. The flood came a year after the same region experienced a severe drought.

Faux color images were takenusing the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. The first image shows the flooded valley observed by Terra on May 10, 2022.

May 10, 2022 Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Aqua took the second image two years earlier, on May 11, 2020, in more typical spring conditions.

May 11, 2020 Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

The images combine shortwave infrared and visible light (MODIS channels 7-2-1) to better distinguish river water from banks.

The course and topography of the Red River Basinunusual, leading to spring floods. The river flows north from the Dakotas and Minnesota, through Manitoba, towards the Hudson Bay. As a result, the upper reaches of the river in the south usually warm up, thaw and flow with spring meltwater and rains, when the channels in the north are still frozen or clogged with ice. This can lead to a slowdown in the flow of the river or a return to the floodplain.

The river valley is also almost flat and passes througha trench formed by continental glaciers about 10,000 years ago. The vertical drop along the river from Fargo, North Dakota to the Canadian border is approximately 40 meters.

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