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Surging Rivers Send Spring Green to Midwest
The Wabash River, the border between Illinois and Indiana, is the largest river in the picture, extending north-south across the entire image on the left-hand side of the frame.
Credit: NASA.

Although the official start of spring is still weeks away, parts of southern Indiana are flush with the first signs of the season.

Just two weeks ago, the region shown in the above image was a barren brown landscape. However, the greening has come at a price .

Snow melt and 12 days of rain filled the region's rivers, then heavy rainstorms swept across the Midwest on Feb. 27 and 28. The clouds cleared on March 1 to reveal widespread flooding throughout the upper Mississippi basin.

The same region, before rain and snowmelt filled the rivers.
The same region, before rain and snowmelt filled the rivers.
Credit: NASA.

In this top image captured by NASA's MODIS instrument, traveling aboard a satellite the Wabash, Eel, and White Rivers are all swollen. The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for parts of the Wabash and Eel Rivers, and reported minor to moderate flooding on the other rivers in the image.

Flooding has hit regions across the Midwest, and forecasts are calling for more rain and and flooding , stretching from the Midwest to the Northeast.

If this image were viewed in natural color, as if from an airplane, the muddy water and surrounding ground would blend together. To distinguish between water and earth, the satellite sensor uses both visible and infrared light.

Water is black or dark blue in this image, and sediment-laden water or saturated ground is pale blue. Plant-covered land is green, and bare earth is tan-pink. The bright fluorescent green spots are likely farmlands with cold-weather crops.

The floods were already subsiding by March 2, but they may be a preview of what is to come this spring, as the winter's above-normal snow melts and spring rains fall.