June 11, 2013 - Floods in central Germany (false color)
Unseasonably heavy rains brought serious flooding to Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic in early June, 2013. In some areas of eastern and southern Germany, the flooding was described as the worst since 2002. At least 20 people have died and thousands have been displaced. Further downstream along the Elbe, Vitava and Danube Rivers, residents prepared for the rising water.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite passed over the region on June 6, 2013 and acquired this true-color image of the flooded lands. Rolling the cursor over the top image reveals the same area before the flooding. The pre-flood image was captured by the MODIS aboard Terra on May 5, 2013. The Elbe River lies in the center of both images. It appears very small, even difficult to distinguish on May 5, while the waters are clearly visible as the river overran its banks on June 6. The city of Madgeburg can be seen as a gray smudge against the green on the western bank of the Elbe.
These false-color images use a combination of visible and infrared light to make it easier to distinguish between water and land. River water appears navy blue to black and vegetation is bright green. Clouds appear blue-green and cast shadows on the land or water below.
According to the Associated Press, more than 80,000 emergency personnel, including firefighters and soldiers, worked aggressively to contain the flooding. Thousands of residents of the region had been displaced, and many bridges and streets had become impassible. The Elbe River reached 8.76 meters (28.75 feet) on June 6, far about the normal depth of 2 meters (6.5 feet). On that day, flooding had already peaked and left severe damage in the Czech Republic, northwest Austria and southern Germany. The Elbe River was expected to crest near Madgeburg on June 8.