NOAA Image of the Day


Recent Rains Swell Lakes and Rivers in Central California

Recent Rains Swell Lakes and Rivers in Central California

These color-enhanced composite images captured by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite in 2016 (left) and 2017 (right) show just how much the recent West Coast rains have swollen California's lakes and rivers downslope of the Sierra Mountains. The image at left, taken February 22, 2016, shows the state of California's lakes and rivers during time when a large portion of the state was, according to the National Drought Monitor, suffering from "extreme" to "exceptional" drought. The image at right, captured on February 23, 2017, tells a much different story. Note a significant difference in the width of the rivers, which suggests just how much water the series of recent storms added to them. Not surprisingly, current Drought Monitor statistics now show most of the state to be free from drought. An animated GIF of the two images can be downloaded here.

HiRes Image

Courtesy of NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory