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HomeClimate Change NewsMore wind, rain, flooding ahead for storm-battered California

More wind, rain, flooding ahead for storm-battered California


More wind, rain, flooding ahead for storm-battered California

Posted on 10 January 2023 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bob Henson and Jeff Masters

A series of Pacific storms that’s taken aim on California since late December is on track to continue into mid-January. Ferocious winds will slam much of the state on Wednesday and Thursday, accompanied by heavy rain likely to trigger widespread flash floods. After a brief break, at least two more potent systems are expected over the following week.

The driver of the relentless storminess is an exceptionally strong jet stream that extends across much of the Pacific at unusually low latitudes. Each major impulse along the jet stream has pulled tropical moisture northward and concentrated it into atmospheric rivers — the channels of moisture aloft that bring California some of its most intense rain and flood events.

On Wednesday, an approaching upper-level disturbance triggered a spectacular “bomb cyclone,” defined as a surface low that deepens by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. With its central pressure dipping below 960 mb, the storm was one of the strongest on record over the North Pacific at latitudes below 40 degrees north. Most of its historical rivals are hurricanes rather than winter-type extratropical cyclones





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