More Weather Weirdness: ‘Atmospheric River’ To Drench Western U.S.

  • As if the weather has been weird enough, it’s about to get worse. Something called and “atmospheric river” is making landfall on the West Coast of the U.S., hitting everything from Washington state down to central California.
  • Travel to various parts of the state is already being threatened, particularly to inland areas such as Tahoe, after the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch on Wednesday warning of 2-3 feet of snow on New Year’s weekend.
  • “Atmospheric rivers are relatively long, narrow regions in the atmosphere – like rivers in the sky – that transport most of the water vapor outside of the tropics,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “These columns of vapor move with the weather, carrying an amount of water vapor roughly equivalent to the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River,” NOAA explains.