Niagara Falls Disasters

This is a processed image that shows the average of the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) and the Modified NDWI (MNDWI) derived from June 1, 2017 Landsat 8 OLI data, with yellow and orange colors representing higher wetness relative to the dryer dark blue and green colors. The image shows the southern coast of Lake Ontario, centered on the city of Niagara Falls, New York, and indicates areas inundated by water.

Employing Remote Sensing Techniques to Evaluate Flood Extent and Environmental Parameters that Contribute to High Water Levels in Lake Ontario’s Coastal New York Communities

Approximately 11 million people reside in the Lake Ontario watershed. Extreme high water levels in the spring of 2017 caused severe flood damage to communities off the coast of Lake Ontario. Niagara Falls drainage infrastructure did not accommodate floodwater inundation, which led to the destruction of property and unsafe conditions for residents. City management required further assessment of maximum flood extent and regional impacts in order to determine high flood risk areas. The Niagara Falls Disasters team partnered with the City of Niagara Falls, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Cornell University, and University of Michigan to map flood extent and create tools to assess relevant environmental parameters used in flood risk evaluation. The team used Google Earth Engine to identify river and coastline changes in the Niagara Falls, NY region. Additionally, the team evaluated various environmental parameters derived from NASA Earth observations, including snow and ice cover, precipitation, and soil moisture, and generated time series analyses for the months prior to and during the 2017 flood event. These products will allow the partners to better prepare at-risk communities for future extreme weather events.

Project Video:
Going With the Overflow
Massachusetts – Boston
Spring 2019
City of Niagara Falls, Department of Planning and Economic Development
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative
Cornell University
University of Michigan
NASA Earth Observations
SMAP L-band Radiometer
Landsat 7 ETM+
Landsat 8 OLI
Christine Fleming (Project Lead)
Celeste Gambino
Eric Deutsch
Oyut Amarjargal
Cedric Fichot