West Coast Atmospheric Rivers

West Coast Atmospheric Rivers

Two powerful atmospheric rivers brought dangerous, flooding rain and tremendous snowfall to parts of California and Nevada.

Snow melt and heavy rain combined to trigger flash flooding across California. The flooding prompted several evacuations from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The storm also left over 350,000 without power.

Since Dec. 25, 2022, 12 atmospheric rivers have slammed California and brought a record-breaking amount of rainfall and flooding.

On March 21, the latest storm, a bomb cyclone hammered the San Fransisco Bay Area, with wind gusts of over 60 mph. The storm then progressed to Southern California, dumping rain and spawning a tornado northwest of Los Angeles. On March 22, another tornado touched down in Montebello, CA, just east of Los Angeles.

The tornado was the strongest to hit the Los Angeles area since 1983. At least five deaths have been related to the most recent storm.

California has experienced three years of intense drought, but the atmospheric river has caused catastrophic flooding and strained levees throughout the state.

Another storm is expected to hit Northern California on March 28. Gusts of 45-55 mph and heavy rainfall is expected for the Bay Area. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for parts of the Sierra Nevada, where 2-4 new feet of snow is anticipated.

Satellite animations of this event:

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