West Coast Atmospheric Rivers

Back-to-back atmospheric rivers have brought substantial precipitation to the US West Coast.

A state of emergency was declared for Southern California as heavy rainfall and flooding threatened the region.

Called a ‘pineapple express’ atmospheric river, which forms in Hawaii and passes north-east through the Pacific Ocean to the Coast, the two storms brought 10.57 inches of rain to Los Angeles.

The first storm hit California on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, and the second storm hit on Feb. 4-6. The storm hit San Francisco first, and then moved down towards Los Angeles and San Diego.

Snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountains tripled thanks to the system.

Multiple feet of snow were in the forecast from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Cascades, with winter weather extending well into the Rocky Mountains.

On Feb. 19, another storm slammed into California. Another atmospheric river hit Southern California in the morning, before battering the Bay Area with thunderstorms and wind in the afternoon. Southern California received up to 10 inches of rain. Hail and flooding were predicted over the Central Valley of California as well.

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Contributions by: Josh Reiter, Dakota Smith and Kim Erickson

Satellite imagery of this event:

Hover over the boxes to play. Click the images to view enlarged

Blizzards and Winter Storms Clobber Western US

Description:

Blizzards clobbered the Sierra Nevada Mountains region over the weekend, along with winter storm conditions and strong wind gusts extending across much of the Western US to the edge of the Rocky Mountains.


Phenomena: Winter Weather Blizzard

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Instrument: ABI

Blizzard Arrives in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Description:

The atmospheric river pummeling California delivers winter storms and blizzards to the mountains and surrounding communities, with many areas receiving multiple feet of snowfall and experiencing whiteout conditions.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Winter Weather Blizzard

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Visible (band 2)

Instrument: ABI

Next Atmospheric River for US West Coast Arrives

Description:

The next atmospheric river for the US West Coast has arrived. Wintery weather is expected across much of the western US through the coming days, with extreme blizzard conditions in the Sierra Nevada mountains.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Airmass (EUMETSAT)

Instrument: ABI

Powerful System Continues to Drive Moisture into the West Coast

Description:

A powerful system south of Alaska continues to drive moisture into the West Coast of the US.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Airmass (EUMETSAT)

Instrument: ABI

Atmospheric River Delivers Winter Weather to the Pacific Northwest

Description:

A trough in the Gulf of Alaska conducts an atmospheric river to slam into the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, bombarding the region with heavy rain and snowfall.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Winter Weather

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Instrument: ABI

Low Pressure Closes in on the Shores of the Pacific Northwest

Description:

This low was part of the upper-level system that directed the atmospheric river at California over the last few days.


Phenomena: Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Visible (band 2)

Instrument: ABI

Lightning-Filled Twenty Four Hours in California

Description:

It was a lightning-filled 24 hours in California yesterday. The lightning came as part of the atmospheric river that brought bring heavy rain and snow to the region.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Thunderstorms

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor GLM Group Energy Density

Instrument: ABI GLM

Atmospheric River Takes Aim on Southern California

Description:

A fire hose of moisture has set up in Southern California bringing heavy rain and flooding to the region.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Flooding

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Water Vapor (band 9)

Instrument: ABI

California Continues to Feel the Impacts of the Current Atmospheric River

Description:

The low pressure system over the coast of the western US continues to direct moisture at California. Heavy rain and snow are expected to continue across the state.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Airmass (EUMETSAT)

Instrument: ABI

Showers and Storms Bring Flooding Risk to California

Description:

A flooding risk threatens the California coast as showers and storms move onshore. Gravity waves can bee seen across the rugged terrain.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GLM Group Energy Density Visible (band 2)

Instrument: ABI GLM

California Feeling the Next Atmospheric River

Description:

A strong upper-level low continues to direct moisture at California, bringing heavy rain and snow, and even a chance of thunderstorms to the state.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor GLM Group Energy Density

Instrument: ABI GLM

Storm System Arrives on the West Coast

Description:

Another storm system moves ashore the US West Coast bringing heavy rain and snow.


Phenomena: Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GLM Group Energy Density Visible (band 2)

Instrument: ABI GLM

Storm System Packed with Lightning Over Pacific

Description:

A storm system headed for the US West Coast is packed with lightning over the Eastern Pacific Ocean.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor GLM Group Energy Density

Instrument: ABI GLM

Another Atmospheric River Takes Aim on West Coast

Description:

Another atmospheric river approaches the North American West Coast as churns over the Eastern Pacific Ocean.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Instrument: ABI

High Resolution View of Lows in the Eastern Pacific Ocean

Description:

A low pressure system over the eastern Pacific Ocean is set to bring abundant moisture to the US West Coast over the coming days.


Phenomena: Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Visible (band 2)

Instrument: ABI

Low in Eastern Pacific Sets Its Eyes on the US West Coast

Description:

A low pressure system over the eastern Pacific Ocean is set to bring abundant moisture to the US West Coast over the coming days.


Swirls Spin-Up Within Pacific Storm System

Description:

Spiraling swirls spawn within a trough in the north Pacific Ocean that will send a couple of storm systems to soak the US west coast this weekend and early next week.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Water Vapor (band 9)

Instrument: ABI

Multiple Storm Systems in the Pacific to Drench the Western US

Description:

Several storm systems brewing in the Pacific will barrage the west coast of the US from now through early next week, bringing torrential rainfall, flooding, and heavy mountain snow to the region.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Airmass (EUMETSAT)

Instrument: ABI

Runoff into the Pacific Ocean in Southern California

Description:

Heavy rain over Southern California earlier this month washed sediment out to the Pacific Ocean.


Phenomena: Flooding

Satellite: NOAA-21

Product: True Color RGB

Instrument: VIIRS

Heavy Snow Falls Across Mountain Ranges in Western US

Description:

To start the month of February, the west coast was greeted by two atmospheric rivers. In the higher elevations, the precipitation from this event fell as heavy snow. This imagery shows the extent of the snow that accumulated across the highlands and mountains of the western US.


Phenomena: Winter Weather Snowfall

Satellite: NOAA-20 NOAA-21

Instrument: VIIRS

Low Brings Snow Across the Lower Four Corners Region

Description:

A surface low sweeps across the Four Corners region, bringing rain and snow to the area.


Phenomena: Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-16

Product: GeoColor

Instrument: ABI

Showers Water the Desert Southwest

Description:

A low-pressure system traversing further into the interior US brings rain showers and storms to the Desert Southwest.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Visible (band 2)

Instrument: ABI

Heavy Precipitation for the Southwest

Description:

The system that impacted California makes its way over the Southwest, bringing heavy precipitation along with it.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Airmass (EUMETSAT)

Instrument: ABI

Impressive Ten-Day Time Lapse of Multiple Atmospheric Rivers Hitting the US West

Description:

This impressive time lapse shows the full ten-day evolution of multiple atmospheric rivers battering the United States’ West Coast.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Water Vapor (band 9)

Instrument: ABI

Heavy Rain and Snow Moves Into the Desert Southwest

Description:

Heavy rain and snow spreads east from California into the desert Southwest, thanks to the current atmospheric river.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Airmass (EUMETSAT)

Instrument: ABI

Fire Hose of Moisture Pummels Southern California

Description:

An intense band of precipitation pummeling Southern California.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Flooding

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Water Vapor (band 9)

Instrument: ABI

Tropics Fed Atmospheric River Pounds Southern California

Description:

The atmospheric river currently impacting southern California gets its moisture from the tropics.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Blended TPW GeoColor

Instrument: ABI

Atmospheric River Triggers Flash Floods in Southern California

Description:

An intense twelve hour period of heavy rainfall triggers flash flooding in Southern California.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Flooding

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Infrared (band 13)

Instrument: ABI

Moisture Drenches the West Coast from Atmospheric River

Description:

Copious amounts of water vapor traverse the north Pacific as a second atmospheric river drenches the west coast over the weekend.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Water Vapor (band 9)

Instrument: ABI

California Feels Full Force of Second Atmospheric River

Description:

A second and stronger atmospheric river hits California with flood rains and heavy snow.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Instrument: ABI

Atmospheric River Pummels California

Description:

California is pummeled with heavy rain due to the current atmospheric river.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Airmass (EUMETSAT)

Instrument: ABI

Atmospheric River Round Two Arrives in California

Description:

The second atmospheric river in less than a week arrives in California.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Instrument: ABI

Next Atmospheric River Takes Shape in Eastern Pacific Ocean

Description:

The next atmospheric river takes shape in the eastern Pacific Ocean.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Airmass (EUMETSAT)

Instrument: ABI

Full Evolution of First Atmospheric River

Description:

The incredible evolution of an atmospheric river slamming the North American West Coast.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Water Vapor (band 9)

Instrument: ABI

Atmospheric River Pounds West Coast With Storms

Description:

Southern California and the Southwest US experience the first of a litany of showers and storms from a series of consecutive atmospheric rivers to the region.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Thunderstorms

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GLM Group Energy Density Visible (band 2)

Instrument: ABI

Daytime View of West Coast Atmospheric River

Description:

A daytime view of the West Coast system.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Instrument: ABI

Atmospheric River Impacts the West Coast

Description:

The West Coast continues to feel the wrath of the current atmospheric river.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Visible (band 2)

Instrument: ABI

Atmospheric River Through the Eyes of VIIRS Satellites

Description:

Polar-orbiting satellites also caught glimpses of the large atmospheric river system as it barreled toward the US Pacific coast, capturing its swirling center in high resolution during both day and night.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers

Satellite: NOAA-20 NOAA-21 S-NPP

Product: Day/Night Band

Instrument: VIIRS

A Water Vapor View of the Atmospheric River

Description:

The atmospheric river continues to impact the West Coast.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Water Vapor (band 9)

Instrument: ABI

Atmospheric River Arrives in the Pacific Northwest

Description:

A powerful atmospheric river arrives in the Pacific Northwest.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Airmass (EUMETSAT)

Instrument: ABI

Jaw-Dropping View of Storm System Approaching US West Coast

Description:

A jaw-dropping view of a mid-latitude cyclone approaching the US West Coast.


Phenomena: Atmospheric Rivers Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Instrument: ABI

Majestic Low Pressure in the North Pacific Ocean

Phenomena: Mid-latitude Cyclones

Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Visible (band 2)

Instrument: ABI