Tropical Cyclone Rusty made landfall in northwestern Australia in late February 2013, coming ashore east of Port Hedland and bringing strong winds to the community of Pardoo. Rusty's heavy rainfall forced Australian Bureau of Meteorology to issue a flood warning for the catchment of the De Gray River on March 4, 2013.
Flooded rivers typically carry heavy loads of sediment, and a sediment plume appeared at the river mouth on March 3/4, 2013. MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured natural-color imagery of the sediment plume on March 3.
Lake Disappointment also underwent a significant transformation, thanks to heavy rains from Tropical Cyclone Rusty. It is a large, saline lake in the Gibson Desert of northwestern Australia. Although the lake is salty, Lake Disappointment provides a refuge for many species of waterfowl. Rainfall also prompts rapid growth of vegetation in this usually arid region.
Water depths increased also in other regional water bodies after Cyclone Rusty’s rains.
Sources: Earth Observatory, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)
Featured image: Aqua/MODIS satellite captured Tropical Cyclone Rusty on February 26, 2013 (Credit: LANCE/MODIS)