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News & Perspective from the Center for Environmental Journalism
This item was posted on December 29, 2010, and it was categorized as Arctic Oscillation, The West, extreme weather.
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Forecast details at the bottom of this post

A gusher of precipitable water in the atmosphere spewing from the Pacific, seen in this image from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, has hosed almost the entire West Coast. Click on the image for an animation of the gusher. (But beware: It’s a memory hog!)

The gusher has triggered heavy rain in Southern California and into Arizona. Meanwhile, cold air pouring down from the north has triggered snow pretty much throughout the interior West, including Northern Arizona.

Below is a map with the weather warnings for the West, posted by the National Weather Service. Wherever you see pink and orange expect extreme winter weather.

The forecast for the next few days?

Snow will move east, with a 99% chance of continued shouting about climate change.

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This thing has 4 Comments

  1. spyder
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    It started here as torrential rains, which then became a freezing mist. Then came the blizzard, more than a foot, covering every frozen icy surface. And now the deep freeze with below zero temperatures. Yet, strangely, almost mysteriously (if you believe the denialistas) it has been a warmer wetter winter than normal.

  2. spyder
    Posted December 31, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    There is no extreme weather, there is no extreme weather, there is no extreme weather. There. Now i can safely ignore any global climate change.

  3. Mauri Pelto
    Posted January 2, 2011 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    These are called atmospheric rivers and it is the third to strike the west coast in short order. Seattle received the brunt on Dec 12-14. Pineapple Express, since the river started near Hawaii. Then southern California on Dec 20-22, southwest flooding. What is extraordinary is that this is during a La Nina when odds are pretty good for a drier than usual winter in California and wetter in the Pacific NW, too date the PNW is a bit dry this winter and California as you note hosed.

  4. spyder
    Posted January 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    All i know is, that in the Inland NW, we had more precipitation in November than all of the 2009-2010 winter (a very dry one), and now at the end of 2010, we are nearing a full year’s worth of normal precipitation, with four months left of the serious rain/snow season. We are in the middle of our second (rare) bitter cold spell, the first was the Thanksgiving week (near zero and sub-zero temps), but as soon as they break we get rain mixed with some snow.

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