Milestone Reached: wettest season ever in parts of the west

- The western U.S. has been absolutely inundated with rain and snow over the last several months and now northern California has experienced their wettest 6 months on record.  Places like Seattle and Portland have experienced their top 5 wettest 6 months… and several regions over the western half of the country have seen their wettest periods on record… just scan the picture above to find those.  All of this was possible because of an extremely active pattern that was conducive to large scale very wet storms that dove southward across the eastern Pacific and then sucked moisture northward from the tropics and slammed it into the West Coast.  We call these “atmospheric rivers”.  These rivers are Mother Nature’s version of a firehose… a stream of moisture at nearly every level of the atmosphere that sucks in tropical moisture from the Hawaiian region and dumps it on the mountains in the west.  Analysis produced by the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes shows there were 45 atmospheric river storms between October and March that impacted the western U.S.  If you’re counting, that’s roughly 1 every 3 days.  These dropped upwards of 60” of rain in some of the valleys and lowlands and more than 500” of snow in the mountains of the west.  No other rainy season has compared and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  While there were some downsides to this onslaught; like flooding, mudslides, avalanches, and infrastructure losses, particularly with the Oroville Dam in California… this was just what the doctor ordered for a very parched region of the world.

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