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Meteorologists use the term "atmospheric river" to describe a long, narrow plume piping deep moisture from the tropics into the mid-latitudes.
One type of atmospheric river (hereafter, AR) you may have heard of is the "Pineapple Express", a pronounced plume tapping moisture from the Hawaiian Islands to the U.S. West Coast.
Amazingly, according to NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), a strong AR can transport as water vapor up to 15 times the average flow of liquid water at the mouth of the Mississippi River!
Suffice to say, if an AR stalls over a particular area, significant flooding can be the result. In fact, a study by Ralph et al. (2006) found ARs responsible for every flood of northern Calfornia's Russian River in a 7-year period. That said, they're also important for western water supply considerations.
According to NOAA/ESRL, 30-50% of the average annual precipitation in the West Coast states typically occurs in just a few AR events. With that in mind, one such AR is poised to soak parts of the West Coast this week. Let's get to the forecast details
Originally posted by winterkill
Just got this in from a friend of mine where the rain is hitting. His apartment is 20 min outside of San Francisco and is now full of water
What used to be his back yard is now a river. Download and view.edit on 2-12-2012 by winterkill because: added material