In September 2011, two episodes of heavy rain in a 15-day period inundated the Indian state of Orissa. On September 26, 2011, the Hindustan Times reported that the second period of heavy rainfall claimed 17 lives, brining the total death toll from September flooding to 59. ABC News Australia put the death toll at 60.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the top image on September 26, 2011. For comparison, the bottom image shows the same area a year earlier, on September 28, 2010. These images show parts of the Brahmani and Mahanadi Rivers near the Bay of Bengal.
Both images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase contrast between water and land. Water varies in color from electric blue to navy. Vegetation is bright green and clouds are pale blue-green. Bare ground is earth toned.
The most striking difference between these images is the large expanse of flood water around the city of Jajpur. Jajpur District was hardest hit by the second round of flooding in September 2011, cut off from the outside world, according to The Hindu. In the image from September 2011, the city of Jajpur is largely surrounded by flood water. Water is also visibly higher in Chilika (Chilka) Lake.
The Hindu reported that major flooding occurred along the Brahmani and Baitarani Rivers in the state of Orissa. ABC News Australia linked the floods to unusually heavy rains occurring late in the monsoon season.
- Agence France-Presse. (2011, September 27 [Australia time zone]). 60 dead, 4 million affected in India floods. ABC News Australia. Accessed September 26, 2011.
- Barik, S. (2011, September 26). Orissa floods may worsen; 20 lakh affected. The Hindu. Accessed September 26, 2011.
- HT correspondents. (2011, September 26). Orissa flood toll hits 59, Bihar in bad state. Hindustan Times. Accessed September 26, 2011.
NASA images courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Michon Scott.