Atmospheric River deluges California and the Southwest

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:25 PM GMT on December 22, 2010

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An “Atmospheric River” of extremely moist air continues to affect the Southwest U.S. today, and flooding rains of 1 – 2” with isolated amounts of 2 – 4” can be expected across Southern California, western and central Arizona, southeastern Nevada, and southwestern Utah. The heaviest rains will fall over the coastal mountains south of Los Angeles. The storm began on Friday night, and has brought some rather remarkable rains and snows to the Southwest. Crestline, California, in the mountains just east of Los Angeles, has received 20.05” of rain since Friday. The Sierra Mountains near Sequoia National Park received an astonishing 17 feet of snow at Pescoes since Friday night. Other heavy snow amounts from the storm include 6.4' at Heavenly near Lake Tahoe, 6.5' in Crested Butte, Colorado, and 9 – 13.5' in Mammoth in the Sierras. Some other rainfall amounts from NOAA's latest Storm Summary:

...ARIZONA...
Iron Spring 11.14"
Black Rock 9.23"
Kingman 3.86"
Grand Canyon West 3.15"

...CALIFORNIA...
Crestline 20.05"
Nature Point 18.60"
Tanback 16.94"
Mammoth Lakes 12.82"
Santa Barbara 12.39"
Los Angeles-USC 6.66"
San Diego 4.22"
San Francisco Airport 2.44"

...NEVADA...
Mount Charleston 12.66"
Las Vegas, 24 miles WNW 8.99"
Reno 2.59"

...UTAH...
Gutz Peak 15.90"
Little Grassy 15.10"
Zion National Park 6.76"


Figure 1. The total amount of rainfall one could get if all the moisture in the air were condensed and fell out as rain is called the Total Precipitable Water (TPW). Here, TPW values from microwave satellite measurements are plotted, and show a plume of very moist air connecting the subtropics near Hawaii with Southern California. TPW vales in excess of 20 mm (about 0.8 inches, blue and warmer colors) are often associated with heavy rainfall events capable of causing flooding. Image credit: University of Wisconsin CIMSS.

“Atmospheric Rivers” was a term coined in the 1990s to describe plumes of moisture that ride up out of the subtropics into the mid-latitudes along the axis of a cold front. Traditional water vapor satellite imagery does not show these plumes very well, and it was only when microwave satellite imagery from polar orbiting satellites became available in the late 1990s that the full importance of these Atmospheric Rivers came to be revealed. Atmospheric Rivers account for a significant portion of California's cold season rainfall and snowfall, and an entire session was devoted to them at last week's American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco, the world's largest Earth Science meeting.

Jeff Masters

High water/flooding (meto234)
The Virgin and Santa Clara rivers are topping out at flood stage at St. George, Utah. Been raining for 3 days and more on the way.
High water/flooding
Desert Rainbow (multex)
desert rainbow
Desert Rainbow
None Shall Pass (DancinPants)
That right there between me and the guy on the far side is the road....and the only one that, as far as I'm aware leads out of Pamo Valley. So he might be stuck there. I drove across there just yesterday!
None Shall Pass

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Snicker...chuckle,,ACK!!

LOL
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Quoting Patrap:
One has the controls to block or ignore any post.

Use them together,use them in Peace

ALL THESE BLOGS ARE YOURS EXCEPT GROTHARS..
ATTEMPT NO BLOGGING THERE


You even have the year correct!!! lol
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Quoting WeatherfanPR:
I have a friend missing in Tampa, FL. since December 15, 2010. His name is Emilio J. Martinez Rodriguez. Please if you know something call the Police.

see the link below for more info.:

Link


Sorry to hear that. The circumstances around teh disappearance sound bad too. I hope it all turns out ok.

Weather related: How far SOUTH do you think it will snow on the Eastern Seaboard this weekend? Into Florida at all?
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One has the controls to block or ignore any post.

Use them together,use them in Peace

ALL THESE BLOGS ARE YOURS EXCEPT GROTHARS..
ATTEMPT NO BLOGGING THERE
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Quoting caneswatch:


Exactly what I mean LOL. This place just makes me sad when things other than weather are
involved.


I apologized and will not comment here more on that subject.
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86. Skyepony (Mod)
Homes in some outer suburbs of Los Angeles are being evacuated as a fierce storm threatens to lash Southern California. Thunderstorms, hail, and even waterspouts and tornadoes are being forecast to strike along the California coastline. Authorities there have ordered the evacuation of 230 homes in foothill suburbs of Los Angeles because of forecasts of more heavy rains on already saturated mountainsides. The evacuation is a safety precaution in case of treacherous mudslides. Public works and emergency agencies have been monitoring the threat of debris flows and mudslides in the communities since last year's Station Fire, an arson-caused blaze that burned away vegetation on 250 sq km of the San Gabriel Mountains. Steady rain has been falling on the area since late last week.
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Sneaux is of the Devil.

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Quoting Neapolitan:

It's only political because the contrarians make it so. Allow me to summarize the situation as it stands and how we got here:

Step #1) Scientists--vast numbers of them--get together and propose a theory along with mountains of supporting data.

Step #2) Policymakers--whose job, you see, is to make policy--look at that theory and those data and say, "Wow, we better act, and act quick!"

Step #3) The fossil fuel industries--along with other groups and individuals who stand to profit the most by maintaining the current energy paradigm--say, "Hold on a minute; how do we know the data's right?"

Step #4) The scientists respond, "Here, let us show you how right it is."

Step #5) The fossil fuel folks go into panic mode: "Do you realize what this will mean for our bonuses?! Our stockholders?! Our CEOs?!!!!! We must do what we can to stall any action to curb the mess we've made!!!"

Step #6) The scientists say, "Just thought you guys should know that we've found tons more data, made millions more measurements, and we're now even more convinced than ever that the amount of CO2 being pumped into the air by the burning of fossil fuels is rapidly heating up the planet."

Step #7) The fossil fuel guys, still panicking, spring into action: they dig deep into their pockets to create a massive smokescreen of doubt, while at the same time bribing financially supporting the campaigns of non-scientific policymakers who are cozy with fossil fuel interests.

Step #8) Those policymakers then say, "You know, on second thought, let's not be too hasty; those scientists have been wrong before and may be now, so let's go on the assumption that nothing's happening, whattaya say?"

Step #9) Scientists say, "Well, the thing is, something is happening: the globe is warming rapidly and CO2 is the primary cause."

Step #10) The mostly uneducated masses look on and say, "Gee, both sides are being awfully political. That surely means both arguments are equally valid, so now I'm really confused.:

That's a gross oversimplification, of course, but it sounds about right to me. How about you?


First of all, I highly resent your statement that anyone that doesn't believe your scenario 100% is part of the 'uneducated masses'. I have an IQ in excess of 140 and have read and continue to read up on BOTH SIDES. It is difficult to determine what is factual and what is 'spun'. You have obviously bought in to the fact that Global Warming is a fact and man is the cause of it and if we don't do something-we are all going to perish in a blaze of fire, or drought, or starvation (choose your poison). Let's assume that you are correct. What do you plan on doing about it? You can sit here and blog all day about it, insulting anyone that doesn't agree with you, or you can actively do something about it. Don't you get it-nobody in the government is going to do anything because too many people have too many agendas and too much money is involved. The reality is that society moves way too slowly to implement the changes you believe need to be implemented now. So what do you do? You sit here and insult people. Why don't you get out there and volunteer for something and actually do something about it? There are a lot of "green" companies developing new technologies to cut emissions-and a lot of them are doing it because it is the right thing to do to clean up our environment-not because of global warming. How about deforestation? That is such a huge thing for our ecosystem, our global weather patterns cannot help but be disrupted. Your focus should be in the direction of action-not sitting here trying to convince everybody that global warming is man caused. Abengoa is one such green company that is looking to the future. There are many.
Now, you asked me which side I am on. I believe we are in a transitional phase warming the earth, very similar to the one from 800-1100 before the advent of the 'Little Ice Age'. We have been warming since it 'ended' around 1800. The rate of increase in temperature would automatically accelerate with a smaller and smaller icepack because more land is absorbing more heat and not reflecting it. I do not think we caused the warming that began in 1800, and if we are enhancing it at this point, I believe it is minimally. It seems that the pattern would repeat itself and there is evidence that it has many times in the past.
My original point that escaped you was that, with the wealth of information(whether fact, fiction or spun) it seems to me that there should not be a party line division on this subject. And soooooo diametrically opposed!! Why is that?
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Quoting NavarreMark:


Hello Canes. You'd think people never saw snow before.


Hi Mark. Tell me about it lol
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Cant go wrong with Re-runs.

LOL
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Complete Update





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Quoting WeatherfanPR:
I have a friend missing in Tampa, FL. since December 15, 2010. His name is Emilio J. Martinez Rodriguez. Please if you know something call the Police.

see the link below for more info.:

Link
I saw that on the news here, we are paying that the guy seen on camera will give himself up and tell the family what happened.
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Remembering Meteorologists Nash Roberts

Posted on December 21, 2010 at 7:46 PM

WWLTV's half hour special on the life and career of Nash Roberts.

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Id check with ones Air Line.

They have Updated Hourly Forecasts for flights.

WU-Charleston, South Carolina Forecast
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Look at post# 59! LOL


So Jeff, i'm flying up to SC Sunday morning. Is there a chance I get delayed?
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Pat are they sending candy to Arizona too?
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Quoting Jeff9641:


Look at post# 59! LOL


Exactly what I mean LOL. This place just makes me sad when things other than weather are involved.
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting Jeff9641:


It's looking like this will be a SE US event for sure the NE US hard to tell right now. I would say the Macon area could get some snow from this system Sunday.


Our high temperature that day is 52, while in Atlanta it's 39. Such a huge jump in such a short distance. So our snow in Macon will probably be an overnight thing, right (if it does happen)? In Birmingham and Atlanta could be an all day thing?
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Quoting NavarreMark:
Here we go again.


What i'm sayin'.........
Member Since: October 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Hippos LOVE water!
To funny.Hey will we see a purple hippo on the news to day needing rescuing?
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Any thing changed regarding possible southern snow?
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Record high temperature set at Houston intercontinental...

A record high temperature of 82 degrees was set at Houston intercontinental yesterday. This breaks the old record of 81 set in
1970.

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Forecast Discussion

SPC AC 221621

DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1021 AM CST WED DEC 22 2010


VALID 221630Z - 231200Z

...NO SVR TSTM AREAS FORECAST...

...SRN CA TODAY TO THE LOWER CO VALLEY THROUGH THIS EVENING...
A MIDLEVEL SHORTWAVE TROUGH NEAR 32 N AND 132 W WILL MOVE INLAND
OVER SRN CA TODAY AND REACH WRN AZ TONIGHT. BOUNDARY LAYER
DEWPOINTS IN THE LOW-MID 50S HAVE OVERSPREAD SRN CA AND SW AZ IN
ADVANCE OF THE PRIMARY BAROCLINIC BAND WITH THE MIDLEVEL
TROUGH...AND THE MIDLEVEL COLD POOL WILL SPREAD INLAND OVER SRN CA
THIS AFTERNOON. COOLING ALOFT AND MAINTENANCE OF THE LOW-LEVEL
MOISTURE...ALONG WITH SURFACE HEATING IN CLOUD BREAKS...WILL
CONTRIBUTE TO AFTERNOON MLCAPE VALUES OF 250-500 J/KG. DEEP-LAYER
VERTICAL SHEAR WILL BE MOST FAVORABLE FOR ORGANIZED SEVERE STORMS IN
THE PRE-FRONTAL ENVIRONMENT WHERE INSTABILITY WILL BE QUITE WEAK.
HOWEVER...AT LEAST MARGINALLY FAVORABLE VERTICAL SHEAR WILL PERSIST
OVER SRN CA THIS AFTERNOON ON THE CYCLONIC SIDE OF THE MIDLEVEL
JET...AND LOW-LEVEL SHEAR SHOULD BE ENHANCED SOME BY CHANNELED
SLY/SELY SURFACE WINDS TO THE W OF THE MOUNTAINS. ISOLATED
STRONG/DAMAGING GUSTS AND A WATERSPOUT/TORNADO COULD OCCUR THIS
AFTERNOON NEAR THE COAST.

LATER THIS AFTERNOON/EVENING...THE THUNDERSTORM THREAT WILL INCREASE
FARTHER E INTO THE LOWER CO RIVER VALLEY OF SE CA AND SW AZ.
THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED IN A BAND ALONG THE COLD FRONT...W OF THE
ONGOING RAIN SHIELD. ISOLATED STRONG/DAMAGING GUSTS WILL BE THE
MAIN SEVERE THREAT WITH THIS ACTIVITY...PRIOR TO WEAKENING OF THE
INSTABILITY OVERNIGHT.

..THOMPSON/ROGERS.. 12/22/2010

CLICK TO GET WUUS01 PTSDY1 PRODUCT

NOTE: THE NEXT DAY 1 OUTLOOK IS SCHEDULED BY 2000Z
CURRENT UTC TIME: 1714Z (11:14AM), RELOAD THIS PAGE TO UPDATE THE TIME
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56. JRRP
Quoting Neapolitan:

It's only political because the contrarians make it so. Allow me to summarize the situation as it stands and how we got here:

Step #1) Scientists--vast numbers of them--get together and propose a theory along with mountains of supporting data.

Step #2) Policymakers--whose job, you see, is to make policy--look at that theory and those data and say, "Wow, we better act, and act quick!"

Step #3) The fossil fuel industries--along with other groups and individuals who stand to profit the most by maintaining the current energy paradigm--say, "Hold on a minute; how do we know the data's right?"

Step #4) The scientists respond, "Here, let us show you how right it is."

Step #5) The fossil fuel folks go into panic mode: "Do you realize what this will mean for our bonuses?! Our stockholders?! Our CEOs?!!!!! We must do what we can to stall any action to curb the mess we've made!!!"

Step #6) The scientists say, "Just thought you guys should know that we've found tons more data, made millions more measurements, and we're now even more convinced than ever that the amount of CO2 being pumped into the air by the burning of fossil fuels is rapidly heating up the planet."

Step #7) The fossil fuel guys, still panicking, spring into action: they dig deep into their pockets to create a massive smokescreen of doubt, while at the same time bribing financially supporting the campaigns of non-scientific policymakers who are cozy with fossil fuel interests.

Step #8) Those policymakers then say, "You know, on second thought, let's not be too hasty; those scientists have been wrong before and may be now, so let's go on the assumption that nothing's happening, whattaya say?"

Step #9) Scientists say, "Well, the thing is, something is happening: the globe is warming rapidly and CO2 is the primary cause."

Step #10) The mostly uneducated masses look on and say, "Gee, both sides are being awfully political. That surely means both arguments are equally valid, so now I'm really confused.:

That's a gross oversimplification, of course, but it sounds about right to me. How about you?

Step #11
hay mas gays por culpa del pollo
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Quoting Jeff9641:
THis has Tornado Outbreak written all over it!

http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/nwprod/analysis/namer/gfs/12/fp0_228.shtml


Seems to me though that those forecast maps show a tornado risk in the mid-South rather than FL, for example.
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Quoting ncgnto25:


You mean the one that both sides skew data for their own arguments and only seriously read information that they agree with? I have to say that on an issue that should be completely neutral as far as what you believe with all the differing data, the political alignment-Global Warming proponents to the left-opponents to the right- is amazing. Whom is thinking for whom?

It's only political because the contrarians make it so. Allow me to summarize the situation as it stands and how we got here:

Step #1) Scientists--vast numbers of them--get together and propose a theory along with mountains of supporting data.

Step #2) Policymakers--whose job, you see, is to make policy--look at that theory and those data and say, "Wow, we better act, and act quick!"

Step #3) The fossil fuel industries--along with other groups and individuals who stand to profit the most by maintaining the current energy paradigm--say, "Hold on a minute; how do we know the data's right?"

Step #4) The scientists respond, "Here, let us show you how right it is."

Step #5) The fossil fuel folks go into panic mode: "Do you realize what this will mean for our bonuses?! Our stockholders?! Our CEOs?!!!!! We must do what we can to stall any action to curb the mess we've made!!!"

Step #6) The scientists say, "Just thought you guys should know that we've found tons more data, made millions more measurements, and we're now even more convinced than ever that the amount of CO2 being pumped into the air by the burning of fossil fuels is rapidly heating up the planet."

Step #7) The fossil fuel guys, still panicking, spring into action: they dig deep into their pockets to create a massive smokescreen of doubt, while at the same time bribing financially supporting the campaigns of non-scientific policymakers who are cozy with fossil fuel interests.

Step #8) Those policymakers then say, "You know, on second thought, let's not be too hasty; those scientists have been wrong before and may be now, so let's go on the assumption that nothing's happening, whattaya say?"

Step #9) Scientists say, "Well, the thing is, something is happening: the globe is warming rapidly and CO2 is the primary cause."

Step #10) The mostly uneducated masses look on and say, "Gee, both sides are being awfully political. That surely means both arguments are equally valid, so now I'm really confused.:

That's a gross oversimplification, of course, but it sounds about right to me. How about you?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
This is the 2nd day in a row this clear streak has set up over the Houston/Galveston area. Weird. As if something is slicing the clouds up and clearing them out
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Freeze line near Brownsville on that one, and deep into NW gulf
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1-1-11 that's a deep trough coming down the pike, and has it heading more for the central US instead of the SE
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49. Inyo
yeah, this may turn out to be the wettest La Nina rainy season on record, even if the rest of the rainy season's rainfall is 'slightly below average'.

Another interesting note: October in southern California was significantly wetter than average (it's usually quite dry) and I've read somewhere that wet octobers in that state general lead to wet conditions the rest of the year. That was true this year, as well as in October 2004.
Member Since: September 3, 2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 873
47. Inyo
Quoting Bordonaro:
Another case of the insane La Nina, the folks is So Cal and Las Vegas, NV are building an ark!!


but La Nina is usually quite dry in the Southwest, including Southern California.
Member Since: September 3, 2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 873
46. Inyo
Quoting bell32ndst:
I guess this means the end of the drought in Southern California. 17 *feet* of snow in one storm, Wow!

Good news.


Definitely good news but there isn't a long-term end to the 'drought', because there is no drought. California's rainfall has been unpredictable, with torrential rains and intense mountain blizzards followed by years of dry weather, since at least the days the Spanish arrived on the coast and probably much longer than that. In fact, even discounting the 'flood' years, there is enough water in California for everyone there if they use it wisely. Not surprisingly, they don't. Go look at a Google Earth picture of the LA area and look at all the lawns and swimming pools. This area receives on average, maybe 0.1 inches of rain in June-July-August-September. Think about where the water comes from to feed those lawns!

Anyway, I noticed these storms seem similar to storms in January 2005 when I lived in Malibu. 15 inches of rain in 15 days in the lowlands, much more in the mountains. The raging rivers (usually dry for most of the year) were amazing to see, everything was bright green for months, and there were waterfalls off of every little cliff and rock. If you're in California enjoy the rains but stay safe - the flash floods, mudslides, etc, can be very dangerous, not to mention avalanches in the mountains.
Member Since: September 3, 2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 873
Quoting ncgnto25:


You mean the one that both sides skew data for their own arguments and only seriously read information that they agree with? I have to say that on an issue that should be completely neutral as far as what you believe with all the differing data, the political alignment-Global Warming proponents to the left-opponents to the right- is amazing. Whom is thinking for whom?
Anyone who is seriously interested in the topic should avoid getting information from the popular press and instead read sources such as Scientific American, Science News, Science Daily. There are plenty of sources that are intented for non-experts and written without a lot of technical jargon.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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