Rising waters that lead to flooding common in springtime, when the winter’s snow begins to melt and fill the mighty Mississippi River. Thanks to a warm, rainy winter over much of its drainage basin, the Mississippi River reached flood stage in January 2019, especially in far down-stream Louisiana.
With concern about the rising waters and more impending rain, on January 9 Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a declaration for a state of emergency for Beauregard, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Catahoula, Rapides, St. Tammany, and Washington parishes. According to the Associated Press, Edwards said many regions of the state saw near-record rainfall in December and the first few days of 2019.
On January 10, NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Louisiana, allowing the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board to acquire a stunning false-color image of the region. Using MODIS bands 7, 2 and 1, this false-color image makes it easy to visualize the widening of the river that marks high water and where it sits in the floodplains. Vegetation appears bright green while water is a deep blue. Sediment pouring into the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi and other rivers as well as from land run-off appears various hues of light blue, depending on the depth and nature of the sediment. Clouds range from white to a bright, light blue. Man-made structures, such as the city of New Orleans on Lake Pontchartrain are gray.