Photos: Before and after satellite photos of the Bay Area after string of atmospheric rivers

The wettest three-week period the Bay Area has seen in more than 160 years has brought a medley of colors to the region as seen from space. A series of atmospheric rivers have left behind white snow-capped mountains to teal water off the coast created by runoff from overflowing waterways. When the soil is saturated, water flows into nearby waterways often taking sediment with it.

Bay Area as seen from NASA’s Aqua satellite. (NASA) 

The natural-color images were taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. NASA’s Earth Observatory compared images taken from Jan. 23, 2022 and Jan. 17, 2023.

The recent rains also left behind brown sediment in San Pablo Bay fed by runoff from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers that run through Central Valley farmland.

California on Jan. 18, 2023 (NASA). 

A dramatic shift in terrain can currently be seen across the entire state after California received rainfall totals of approximately 350 percent above average in the first half of January 2023. Mountain snowpack across the state is also currently approximately 248 percent of average compared to the year before.