February 22, 2012 - Flooding in Eastern Australia

Flooding in Southeastern Asia

Along the border between the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales, several communities were flooded in early February 2012. By mid-month, the flood waters had moved west. On February 19, online news source NineMSN reported that as many as 10,000 residents of northeastern New South Wales would likely be isolated from the outside world by high water.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired the top image on February 18, 2012. Scrolling over that image will reveal the same area acquired on February 6, 2012. Both images show flood conditions, but they also show the movement of water along the Barwon and Namoi Rivers and other waterways in the region. Queensland is in the north and New South Wales in the south. The Barwon River can be seen near the lower center edge. Namoi lies to the east of the Barwon.

These images use a combination of visible and infrared light to better distinguish between water and land. Water varies from electric blue to navy, with darker shades generally indicating deeper water. Vegetation is bright green. Bare ground is earth-toned.

On February 6, floods are largely confined to the eastern areas. By February 18, flooding has receded in the east, but floods have traveled westward along tributaries of the Darling River. New flooding is especially apparent along the Barwon River, and along the border of New South Wales and Queensland.

NineMSN reported that several thousand residents were already isolated in the communities of Walgett, Collarenebri, Weilmoringle, and Goodooga, all found along the rivers in New South Wales, and that flooding in those areas could persist for weeks. Floods were also expected in Brewarrina and Bourke, to the west of the current flood zone, over the next month.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 2/18/2012
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 7,2,1
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC