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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.
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer After a record-breaking drought, much of the West and Southwest has been hoping for a winter of rain. But with scientists predicting a second consecutive winter with La Niña conditions, the dry spell may be prolonged. La Niña is a climate pattern that tends to produce droughts in the […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor As California’s summer fire season comes to a close, autumn’s Santa Ana winds have intensified a fast-moving wildfire now terrorizing Santa Barbara County. The Alisal fire began Monday afternoon. Since then, it has engulfed 16,801 acres and is only 5% contained, according to CalFire. As a result, a portion […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there have been 18 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2021, surpassing 2020’s disaster costs with almost three months still left until 2022. Experts say that weather events across the spectrum, including wildfires, hurricanes, and severe weather, are not […]
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