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Floods in Southern Russia
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Floods in Southern Russia

May 17, 2005

The longest river in Europe, the Volga River, was wide with springtime runoff on May 11, 2005, when the Terra MODIS instrument captured the top image. On April 14, the underlying roll-over image, the lower reaches of the river formed a thin dark line before emptying into the Caspian Sea. In the next month, melting snow had pushed the river into a wide black ribbon. The images are false color, so that water is black and dark blue, clouds are white and light blue, vegetation is green, bare earth is tan and pink, and snow is light blue. The snow that dusted the northern reaches of the landscape on April 14 (see the full resolution version here) had melted by May 11, undoubtedly contributing to the high water along the river.

The Volga River is the chief waterway of Russia, and is the longest river in Europe. The basin through which it flows covers about one-third of European Russia, and commonly floods during May and June, as shown above. Later in the summer, the waters will subside to their yearly low, revealing shoals and sandbars that are covered for most of the year.