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With rainfall totals well below normal in northeastern Pakistan through September, the 2014 monsoon season was looking to be a relatively quiet one. Then torrential downpours dropped 12 inches (305 millimeters) of rain in the India-Pakistan border region of Jammu and Kashmir between September 3 and 7. As the resulting surge of floodwater has pushed its way down the Jhelum, Chenab, and Ravi rivers, the damage has been severe, even for a region that has grown accustomed to seasonal monsoon floods.
These images show part of the Indus River on February 21, 2011 (top), and February 23, 2010 (bottom).
Acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite, these images show southern Pakistan before and after the 2010 monsoon rains. The top image is from December 15, 2010. The middle image shows the area when flood waters in southern Pakistan were around their peak, on September 17, 2010. The bottom image shows the area on December 16, 2010, following a more typical monsoon season.
More than three months after floods first struck
Pakistan, flood waters lingered west of the Indus River. At the beginning
of November, the high waters were receding, but only slowly.
Acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer(MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite, these false-color images show a portion of the Indus River and irrigated land to the west. The images document the formation of a massive floodwater lake terminating in Manchhar (or Manchar) Lake.
The Indus practically spawned a parallel river in Sindh Province by early September 2010. A dam breach upstream caused the waters of the Indus to diverge in August. While water remained in the main river channel and flowed toward the Arabian Sea, some water flooded agricultural lands and settlements to the west, ultimately pouring into Manchhar (also spelled Manchar) Lake, according to news reports. Flooding had already ravaged several settlements, including Mehar. Authorities feared that floodwaters would breach embankments and inundate the town of Johi and the nearby city of Dadu.
Widespread, heavy monsoon rains fell in Pakistan
in late July 2010, leading to at least 90 deaths, according to news reports.
The worst flooding in a century struck northwestern Pakistan, displacing
several thousand residents.
Tropical Cyclone Phet brought not just strong winds but also heavy rains to the Arabian Sea, the Arabian Peninsula, and the coast of Pakistan in late May and early June 2010. This color-coded image shows both rainfall amounts and the storm track for Phet from May 31 to June 6, 2010. The storm track appears in shades of peach, coral, and red. The rainfall amounts appear in shades of blue and green.
A lake created by a landslide in northwest Pakistan continued growing throughout the month of May 2010. The lake extended northward up the Hunza River, past the settlements of Gulmit and Shishkot. Meanwhile, the risk of a breach continued growing, according to David Petley of the International Landslide Centre in the United Kingdom. On June 1, 2010, Petley warned that the landslide lake was eroding the landslide mass instead of the excavated material, and that downstream communities should prepare for a rapid breach.
Unusually intense monsoon rains pounded Pakistan in late July and early August 2008. This image compares rainfall as observed by the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite between July 5 and August 5, 2008, to average rainfall normally seen during Pakistan's July monsoon. Areas that are blue or green received more rain than average, while areas that are yellow or brown received less rainfall. Pakistan stands out from the surrounding countries in that it alone received significantly more rain than average in July 2008.
Note: Image acquired on January 20, 2008 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite. NASA image courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.