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This animation from NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory shows an atmospheric river event in January 2017. Atmospheric rivers are relatively narrow regions in the atmosphere that are responsible for most of the horizontal transport of water vapor outside of the tropics.
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer
This March will continue to bring more severe weather to the United States. An atmospheric river event — the “Pineapple Express” — is forecast to induce a rainy season in Washington and Oregon, as well as an increased risk of avalanches in the Pacific Northwest.
As the Pineapple Express moves from the ocean to the land, over mountains, it creates rain and snowfall, and even flooding. High winds, high tides, and river flooding will likely occur, while winds will consistently range from 15 to 25 mph, reaching as high as 40 mph in the next 72 hours. These winds could lead to power outages, an especially grave concern given that there are still thousands of people without power in Oregon from a storm that hit a week ago.
Likewise, tornadoes with their sporadic nature strike quickly and inflict maximal damage. Last year, a violent derecho in the midwest caused $11 billion of damage, caused by tornadoes, hail, and other severe thunderstorms.
La Niña Hits Hard: Both the Pineapple Express and the increase in tornado conditions can be traced back to the continuing La Niña conditions this spring.
Meanwhile, La Niña causes the jet stream to move northward, which develops thunderstorms further north and west, creating more potential for tornado outbreaks. La Niña also forces wind closer to the ground to strengthen, which makes it easier for tornadoes to form.
There’s evidence that suggests that La Niña conditions may grow worse as a result of climate change, because the warming world causes more moisture to be evaporated from the oceans into the atmosphere, providing more fuel for storm systems. This may mean that this spring of severe weather may not be the last.
It was well known that the Tokyo Olympics would be very hot, but it’s now shaping up to be the hottest games in history, and athletes are paying the price. Athletes have had to be routinely treated for heat exhaustion. A Russian tennis star said he could “die” in the suffocating heat and humidity and a […]
The United Arab Emirates has developed a new solution to mitigate heatwaves and drought. Cloud-zapping drones could be the key to manufacturing rainfall, and testing has already begun. Previous methods of cloud-seeding using salt flares have raised questions about environmental safety, but this new method doesn’t use chemicals. Instead, it zaps clouds with electricity, triggering rain production. Cloud-seeding has been employed in the […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer After over a week of sudden natural disasters across the globe, at least 33 people have now died in catastrophic floods in central China. The Henan province is currently facing millions of dollars of damage, and 200,000 evacuees are looking for an end to the nightmare. As the army mobilizes to prevent further flooding, […]
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