This week, meteorologists are predicting the first major storm for California’s rainy season. The storm is predicted to be an atmospheric river. This phenomenon is a type of storm in which a gathering of moisture helps to carry saturated air from the tropic environments to higher latitudes. With this movement, it generates a large amount of rain and/or snowfall.
This would not be California’s first ever atmospheric river to hit the area. Just earlier this year, in the wintery season of January, California fell victim to the storm type. Furthermore, two Octobers ago, in 2021, there was an atmospheric river that hit the Bay Area the hardest. San Francisco and surrounding cities saw wind speeds of nearly 80 miles per hour with waves coming in at 60 feet in the Bay. In the three days the storm lasted, approximately 15% of the annual average rainfall had fallen for the region. Records like this are what experts are expecting.
Thus far, fall in California has been quite tame.
Storms and rainy weather has been hitting the west coast hard in the Pacific Northwest, but so far California has remained dry and safe. They are unsure of when exactly the rainfall will now finally be hitting California, but we can expect it to hit within the next few days. Most are anticipating the rain coming in this Wednesday, 11/15.
Scientists are hoping that the storm brings with it enough rain to really help supply the area with much-needed hydration. If the storm mirrors those that we have seen in the past, then we can expect it to fill reservoirs, replenishing our water supply. This will also allow the state to further build up the stock of natural freshwater.
The other thing experts hope for is that people are safer with this round of storms.
The previous storm early this year saw 18 lives lost. The amount of rain was something California infrastructure was simply not prepared for, so many hope that having been through this before, people will remain safe and sound.
On the five-point scale which categorizes atmospheric river storms, experts place this one at anything between a 2-5. This means the storm could either be moderate or incredibly heavy and damaging.