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‘Atmospheric River’ is set to bring heavy rain to US Northwest amid snow storm


A strong weather system known as an atmospheric river is poised to bring heavy rain and snow to the Pacific Northwest and California, increasing the risk of landslides and flooding.

Meteorologist Josh Weiss of the U.S. Weather Service said in an interview that a growing series of storms over the Pacific could bring up to 7 inches (18 cm) of rain in the North. California in the next few days. The Sierra Nevada Mountains can expect 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) of snow.

Atmospheric rivers are powerful streams of moisture that flow out of the Pacific Ocean, in some cases carrying as much water in the air as the Mississippi River holds in its mouth.

While heavy rain can cause floods and landslides, it’s also crucial for an area in the midst of its worst drought in 1,000 years. California relies heavily on winter rains to replenish its reservoirs. As of December 20, 97% of the Golden State is in some degree of drought.

After submerging the West Coast, the storms are expected to form a low-pressure system that could bring heavy snow to the Great Plains next week and eventually bring rain to the East Coast, Weiss said.

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