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Assessing the effects of 2019 Missouri River flooding on agricultural lands

Authors: Joel Porterfield*, Northeastern Illinois University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Remote Sensing, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: remote sensing, flooding, Midwest, agriculture, disaster assessment, satellite imagery
Session Type: Guided Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Missouri River flooding of March 2019 was set up by an extremely cold and snowy start to March, followed by three days of intense rainfall and warm temperatures in the middle of the month. With additional high amounts of rainfall throughout the spring and summer, some parts of the river below Omaha remained above flood stage until October, and agricultural lands in the floodplain were affected throughout the entire growing season. To assess the summer-long effects of the flooding on agriculture, I conducted a temporal comparison of land cover near Nebraska City, NE from three Landsat images: in August 2018 before the flood, in March 2019 during the initial flood, and in August 2019 after the wet spring and summer. Using Erdas Imagine remote sensing software, I performed a supervised classification of the land cover to find the percentage of land covered by water and vegetation. The percentage of agricultural land use loss between August 2018 and August 2019 was calculated for the area, as well as the amount of flooded land in March that was still underwater in August. The results indicate how much of what is normally agricultural output was either still underwater or left fallow during the growing season, indicating the long-term effects of the flooding.

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