California is finally getting what it needs… rain. Yet, too much of any good thing doesn’t mean it gets better. California could be receiving as much as fifteen inches of rain in the Sierra Nevada while other areas of higher elevation could receive two feet of snow. This year has been a wild year in terms of precipitation; places like Alpine and Soda Springs received more than seventy-five inches of snow with their recent weather system. Another one just like it isn’t too far behind.
You may be asking yourself how this is possible. Well science has an explanation for that, and it is quite interesting. It is called an “atmospheric river," a weather phenomenon that is a column of moisture that flows inland from the Pacific. These atmospheric rivers can be anywhere from 250 to 375 miles wide. Strong atmospheric rivers can carry water vapor “equivalent to 7.5-15 times the average flow of liquid water at the mouth of the Mississippi River,” stated the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also says, "On average, about 30%-50% of annual precipitation in the (West Coast) states occurs in just a few (atmospheric river) events, thus contributing to water supply". Howeve, with those atmospheric river events, they also bring heavy flooding. In which case California is finally getting some rain, but just a little less would have done just fine.