Flooding near Hamburg, Iowa

Flooding near Hamburg, Iowa

In mid-July 2011, more than a month after the Missouri River broke through two levees and flooded fields near Hamburg, Iowa, muddy water lingered near the city. Throughout that period, a newly built levee spared the town itself from flooding.

On July 17, 2011, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this natural-color image of the flood. Compared to an image acquired on June 24, flooding appears to have receded slightly in some areas. Sediment-choked water nevertheless lingers on large swaths of land. Several roads, including Interstate 29, dip below the water, and to the east of the Interstate, the standing water is darker in color.

The stark earthen line separating Hamburg from the dark-colored flood water is probably a levee. On July 13, 2011, KETV of Omaha, Nebraska, reported that a newly built, 2-mile levee designed to protect Hamburg already exceeded federal standards. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers handed control of the levee over to city officials on July 12. In the end, the levee was expected to cost the Army Corps $6 million, and the city of Hamburg about $800,000.

On July 18, 2011, the Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service reported moderate flooding along the Missouri River not far from Hamburg, Iowa. In the northwest, the river reached 24.37 feet (7.43 meters) at Nebraska City. In the southeast, the river reached 38.98 feet (11.88 meters) at Brownville, Nebraska.

NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team. Caption by Michon Scott.

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