TheVoiceOfJoyce Atmospheric Rivers, Bomb cyclones, the Pineapple Express are all pounding northern and central California. Merced, the logistics hub for Amazon, UPS and Fed Ex is flooded along with coastal areas. So far, 17 have perished statewide and there’s billions in property damage. Weather extremes are the norm. Two weeks of intense rain and snow won’t alleviate two decades of drought. The reality of weather extremes can no longer be denied. Do we sit back and argue over politics, or do we make plans for our survival? The choice is ours.

Streets submerged by floods in Central California – video

The newest round of storms is forecast to hit the northern coast, where the threat of flooding will persist until Friday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said. A wind advisory is in effect in some areas, which could see gusts of up to 60mph (96.5km/h). The plume of moisture lurking off the coast stretched all the way over the Pacific to Hawaii, making it “a true Pineapple Express”, the NWS said.

Meanwhile, southern California will see a break in rains until the weekend, when more wet weather is forecast.

Quick guide

What’s causing the California deluge?


What’s causing the California deluge?

Here’s a short glossary of the storms and their elements lashing the state, and how the weather wound up unleashing torrential rain on the previously parched region.

Atmospheric rivers: Long streams of moisture or as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says simply, “rivers in the sky”, that transport water vapor from the tropics, after warm water evaporates off the Pacific. They can at times be incredibly destructive, often accompanied by strong gusty winds.

Pineapple express: A particularly strong system, the Pineapple express delivers moisture from around Hawaii to the west coast that then hammers the US and Canada with rain and snow.

Bomb cyclone: These low-pressure storm systems help create ARs, pushing them from the Pacific to the coast. Unlike hurricanes or other storms where the center is the strongest, bomb cyclones can generate the worst weather at their edges.

La Niña: This is a climate pattern characterized by a colder-than-average sea surface level in the Pacific ocean near the equator. The region is in the grips of a third year of La Niña conditions, which tend to steer storms north into Washington and Oregon.

– Gabrielle Canon

Was this helpful?

Communities across the state are working to pick up the pieces after days of severe rain, wind and flooding. This week’s storm, which began on Monday, was one in a series that began in late December and repairing the damage may cost more than $1bn, said Adam Smith, a disaster expert with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Crews worked to reopen major highways that were closed by rockslides, swamped by flooding or smothered with mud. More than 10,000 people who were ordered out of seaside towns on the central coast were allowed to return home.

Leave a Reply