Morganza Spillway, May 4, 2011

Morganza Spillway, May 18, 2011

Bombarded with record rainfall, the Mississippi River crested at nearly 50 feet in early May. The resulting floods along the river have been the among the most extensive on a U.S. waterway in the past century. 

On May 18, 2011, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite captured images of water in the Morganza Floodway -- a part of the 3,900 foot Morganza Spillway, opened only once before in 1973 -- along the Mississippi River. The floodway is designed to ease water levels in downstream communities along the Mississippi by diverting some water into the Atchafalaya Basin. Above, pictures taken on May 4th and May 18th, respectively, from NASA's satellite. 

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Images: NASA.