Monday April 17, 2023


As winter approached, few anticipated what was about to hit California.

Mired in a serious drought, the state was suddenly battered by an onslaught of 31 atmospheric river storms in a matter of months. While the number alone isn’t exceptional, the location, intensity and duration of these storms had a transforming effect on California’s climate. Record snowfall. Deadly flooding. The end of many drought restrictions.

But one thing remains a mystery: Why did so many of these bands of water vapor, many back-to-back, slam into California?

While storm tracking has improved in recent years with data from better satellite images and air reconnaissance missions, scientists have not been able to pinpoint what exactly caused the relentlessly wet weather.

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