acquired August 20, 2002

Flooding in Germany



Heavy rains in Central and Eastern Europe over the past few weeks have led to some of the worst flooding the region has witnessed in more than a century. The floods have killed more than 100 people in Germany, Russia, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic and have led to as much as $20 billion in damage. This false-color image of the Elbe River and its tributaries (bottom) was taken on August 20, 2002, by the Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+), flying aboard the Landsat 7 satellite.

As can be seen, the river resembles a fairly large lake on the right-hand side of the image just south of the town of Wittenberg, Germany. Earlier in the week, the floodwaters inundated Dresden to the south. In Dresden, water reached levels not seen since 1845, and the floods threatened to destroy the historic section of the city. When this image was taken, tens of thousands of people had been evacuated from their homes in Germany. Fifty thousand troops, border police, and technical assistance workers were called in to combat the floods along with 100,000 volunteers. Normally, the river would just resemble a thin line (bottom, image acquired August 14, 2000).

Image courtesy Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory; data provided by the USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch.