Recent Landsat-8 Imagery from the Colorado Floods

Starting on September 9, 2013 the Boulder, Colorado began receiving record amounts of rainfall over the course of a week. Some areas in the Northern Colorado area received in excess of 15 inches of rain causing widespread and significant flash flooding followed by additional flooding downstream. Now that the clouds have left the area, satellite instruments that supported disaster response activities are beginning to obtain imagery, showing the impact on the area. On Tuesday, September 17, Landsat 8 flew over the area and obtained mostly cloud free imagery.  By comparing this imagery to imagery from July 31, 2013 one is able to see the impacts of these historic rains, observed as large changes in creeks and rivers in the areas of Longmont and Boulder, Colorado.

This Landsat 8 true color image from July 31, 2013 shows the area prior to the historic rainfall that would happen in early and mid September 2013.

This Landsat 8 true color image from July 31, 2013 shows the area prior to the historic rainfall that would happen in early and mid September 2013.

A false color image from Landsat 8 on July 31, 2013.

A false color image from Landsat 8 on July 31, 2013.

Landsat 8 true color image from September 17, 2013 show the impact of the historic rains in Northern Colorado.

Landsat 8 true color image from September 17, 2013 show the impact of the historic rains in Northern Colorado.

A false color image from Landsat 8 on September 17, 2013 provides even more detail the current flooding situation in Northern Colorado.

A false color image from Landsat 8 on September 17, 2013 provides even more detail the current flooding situation in Northern Colorado.

3 thoughts on “Recent Landsat-8 Imagery from the Colorado Floods

  1. Thanks for the great post Jordan. I’m glad that SPoRT is utilizing NASA assests such as Landsat to take a look at the historic flooding that has taken place in Colorado recently. I am curious…I noticed that much of the water in the Sep 17th image is a greener color than that in the earlier image. Is this due to the higher sediment content…or something else…or just a remnant of processing?

    • Kris, it is probably a combination of sediment and the fact that flood flood waters are not as deep in as the before images. The reservoirs and lakes very apparent in the before image are most like at more substantial depths than the flood waters.

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