There are some very powerful images coming in from space that show the extent of the Colorado flooding. In the two images above from NASA’s Earth Observatory, Greeley, Colo., is seen before (June 29) and after (Sept. 17) torrential rains fell. That rain, in many places, exceeded 16 inches in just five days.

The river that swells to take in part of the town is the South Platte, which was captured by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the U.S. Geological Survey’s Landsat 8 after the peak of the flood as the waters receded and left large ponds behind.

Colorado Flooding Aftermath: Photos

If you look closely (larger versions are available on the NASA website) you can see that roads and highways have been devoured and at least one residential subdivision is underwater, along with a lot of farm land. The river reached a peak flood stage of 18.79 feet on Sept. 14. That beat out the previous record by a whopping 7 feet!

There is also a fantastic new short video of satellite imagery which shows the cause of all this flooding — the gigantic river of moisture that poured onto Colorado.

Why Is Colorado Flooding?

The flip side to all of this is that Colorado and New Mexico (which also is also experiencing flooding) have been suffering from terrible drought that has lasted years. This is the first glimpse these and other surrounding states have had of a possible end to that drought, although most people are still holding their breath.

Image: Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.