Destructive seasonal floodwaters in West Africa •

Destructive seasonal floodwaters in West Africa

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory shows an area of West Africa that has experienced excessive rainfall throughout 2020. 

The Sahel region of West Africa is usually mostly dry, but Mali and other countries received exceptionally heavy summer rainfall this year.

The precipitation pushed seasonal floods on the Niger River and its inland delta to destructive levels, and more than 1,100 homes were destroyed by flooding.

Many of the rivers and streams in the Guinea Highlands were overwhelmed with rain in July and August, and over the next several weeks the floodwater spread across the inland delta in central Mali.

By late October, water levels peaked in the town of Mopti, which is located at the confluence of the Niger and Bani Rivers. According to Mali’s National Directorate of Water Resources, water in the delta reached 22 feet on October 26.

It takes about six months for rainfall in the Guinea Highlands to reach the ocean at the Niger Delta in Nigeria. The timing of the flooding is greatly anticipated because it affects when rice can be grown, when fish will be available to catch, and when pastures will be ready for grazing. 

The image was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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