NASA's Aqua Satellite Spots Flooding from Tropical Storm Arlene in Mexico

On June 30, 2011, Tropical Storm Arlene made landfall near Cabo Rojo in Veracruz, Mexico. As the storm came ashore, the U.S. National Weather Service forecast total rainfall accumulations up to 8 inches (20 centimeters), and warned of potentially life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

The impact of Arlene’s heavy rain was clear in early July as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead. MODIS captured an image on July 5, 2011 after Arlene had passed through.

The image was created using a combination of visible and infrared light to increase contrast between water and land. In the image, water varies from electric blue to navy. Depending on land cover, areas above water range in color from green to brown. Clouds are pale to medium blue-green.

A network of lakes extends inland from the city of Tampico. In the image from July 5, the lake network appears to have multiplied, with standing water covering large areas northwest and southwest of the city. Standing water is also apparent south of Cabo Rojo.

On July 5, 2011, the Associated Press reported that the Mexican government had raised the official death toll for Arlene to 22. Deaths occurred in multiple states, with the most deaths reported in Hidalgo.

Arlene was the first named Atlantic storm of the season.

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