Tuesday April 23, 2024

The Mercury News

Atmospheric river storms are like punches in a boxing match. A flurry of weak ones are OK. But it’s best to avoid the big knockout blows.

That’s exactly what happened in California this winter. Scientists say that from Oct. 1 to April 1, the state actually received more atmospheric rivers, the famous moisture-laden meteorological events that are critical to the water supply, than it did last year — 44 this winter compared to 31 last winter.

But the intensity made all the difference. Statewide, California had just 2 strong atmospheric rivers this winter, compared with 7 last year.

Many of the biggest this winter hit Washington and Oregon instead. The result was, for the most part, a remarkably, blissfully average rainy season for California.

“California is usually either extremely wet or dry,” said Chad Hecht, a meteorologist with the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at UC-San Diego, which compiled the data. “This year was abnormally normal. I’ll take it. It’s better than not having any storms at all — or what we had last year, which was one really strong storm after another.”

Read more >

Link copied successfully