- Status Report
- August 11, 2022
NASA MODIS Image of the Day: May 10, 2008 – Cyclone Nargis Floods Burma (Myanmar)
The first cyclone of the 2008 season in the northern Indian Ocean was a devastating one for Burma (Myanmar).
According to reports from Accuweather.
com, Cyclone Nargis made landfall with sustained winds of 130 mph and gusts of 150-160 mph, which is the equivalent of a strong Category 3 or minimal Category 4 hurricane. News reports stated that at least 10,000 people were killed, and thousands more were missing as of May 5. Flood water can be difficult to see in photo-like satellite images, particularly when the water is muddy. This pair of images from the MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite use a combination of visible and infrared light to make floodwaters obvious. Water is blue or nearly black, vegetation is bright green, bare ground is tan, and clouds are white or light blue. The entire coastal plain is flooded in the May 5 image, which is the main image on this page. The fallow agricultural areas appear to have been especially hard hit. For example, Yangon (population over 4 million) is almost completely surrounded by floods. Several large cities (population 100,000–500,000) are in the affected area. Muddy runoff colors the Gulf of Martaban turquoise. If you move your mouse over the image, you will see what the area looked like on April 15, before the Cyclone hit, with rivers and lakes are sharply defined against a backdrop of vegetation and fallow agricultural land. The Irrawaddy River flows south through the left-hand side of the image, splitting into numerous distributaries known as the Mouths of the Irrawaddy. The wetlands near the shore are a deep blue green. Cyclone Nargis came ashore across the Mouths of the Irrawaddy and followed the coastline northeast.