Heavy rains fell over Brazil in the opening weeks of January, 2013, causing heavy flooding and devastating landslides in the southeastern regions. On January 3, the torrential rains caused a dike to break in Campos, driving about 4,000 people from their homes on that day. Flooding in the North and Northwest Fluminense regions drove nearly 35,000 from their homes.
On January 17, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of the Brazilian coastline. Although the regions hardest hit by flooding are to the south of the image, evidence of tumultuous weather is in evidence. Wisps of fine cloud linger over the ocean and land, while several banks of higher clouds stretch across the southern region. A halo of tan sediment hugs the entire coast, turning to a brilliant blue where sediment sinks into the ocean, changing the reflectance values of the sediment. The large amount of tan sediment is the most striking evidence of torrential rains moving land into rivers and to the sea.