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.

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Contributions by: Dakota Smith

Satellite imagery of this event:

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

Full Day View of West Coast Bomb Cyclone

Description:

A sunrise-to-sunset view of the recent West Coast bomb cyclone.


Satellite: GOES-16

Product: GeoColor

Stunning View of Bomb Cyclone Approaching West Coast

Description:

A stunning GeoColor view of yet another bomb cyclone approaching the West Coast U.S.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Mid-Latitude Cyclone Approaches United States' West Coast

Description:

The sun begins to set on the mid-latitude cyclone approaching the U.S. West coast.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

System Swirls over North Pacific, Set to Bring Heavy Snow and Rain to Western United States

Description:

The latest in a string of storms is set to bring heavy precipitation to the Western United States.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Time Lapse Shows Impressive Development of Latest West Coast Storm System

Description:

This 4o hour time lapse shows the impressive development of the latest system to strike the Western United States.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Water Vapor (band 9)

Incredible View of Mid-Latitude Cyclone Coming Ashore in Bay Area

Description:

A mid-latitude with an eye-like feature, moves ashore in the Bay Area.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Visible (band 2)

Heavy Rain and Snow Arrive in Southern California

Description:

Another round of heavy rain and snow has arrived in Southern California as the latest system comes ashore.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Next High-Impact Weather System Approaches California

Description:

The latest in a string of high-impact storm systems approaches California.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Beautiful View of Snow Pack in California and Nevada

Description:

After multiple storms, healthy snow pack is visible across California and Nevada.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Mid-Latitude Cyclone Hits Western United States

Description:

The storm system that has brought heavy snow and rain to the Western United States comes ashore.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Water Vapor (band 9)

Another Atmospheric River Approaches California

Description:

On the heels of an atmospheric river that brought destructive flooding to California, another is on the way. This view shows the system developing over the Pacific.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor

Atmospheric River Takes Aim at Central California

Description:

This 25 hour time lapse shows relentless moisture hitting California.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: Airmass (EUMETSAT)

Atmospheric River Arrives in U.S. West

Description:

A twenty hour time lapse that shows the atmospheric river arriving in the U.S. West.


Satellite: GOES-18

Product: GeoColor