I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific. – Lily Tomlin

Archive for May 14, 2010

Flooding in Kentucky {as NASA sees it}

Amazing photos from NASA depicting flooding in my area of Kentucky. My house is located fairly close to where the map reads ‘Green River’.

 Severe floods struck Kentucky on May 1–2, 2010, causing statewide damage estimated at more than $30 million, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. At 11:00 a.m. on May 9 (the day the top image was captured), the Green River was more than 7 feet above “major flood” stage, which is 390 feet, according to the National Weather Service. As of May 13, it was running 392.05 feet—still 2 feet above “major flood” stage.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured these images of the region of Paradise, Kentucky, including parts of Illinois and Indiana. The top image shows the area on May 9. The bottom image shows the same area on April 29, before the floods struck. Both images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between water and land. Vegetation is bright green. Clouds are bright turquoise. Water is navy blue. Bare ground is pinkish-tan.

At the end of April, the Green River is barely discernible, but in early May, the river is conspicuous, as are some of its tributaries. To the north, the Ohio River was substantially more swollen in early May than it was in April.


  • Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services. (2010, May 12). Green River at Paradise. National Weather Service. Accessed May 12, 2010.
  • Estep, B. (2010, May 12). Obama declares major disaster in Ky. because of flooding. Lexington Herald-Leader. Accessed May 12, 2010.
  • NASA image courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.

    Aqua – MODIS