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River in the Sky Keeps Flooding the West

21 Feb 2017, 5:37 pm

Yet another series of atmospheric rivers has drenched California and the American West in a stunning turnaround from five years of drought. Many parts of California have received nearly twice as much rain as normally falls in the first five months of a water year, which began on October 1 according to NASA.

Flood and landslide warnings are in effect in many counties, particularly in the Sacramento Valley, which is crossed by several rivers and sits downstream from several large reservoirs and dams. According to news reports, more than two dozen mud/debris flows have been reported across California, and at least 30 major roads have been flooded at various times in the past week. Spillways have been opened at the Anderson, Oroville, and Monticello dams, among others.

On February 20, 2017, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on Suomi NPP captured a natural-color image (above) of conditions over the northeastern Pacific. Note the tight arc of clouds stretching from Hawaii to California, a visible manifestation of the atmospheric river pouring moisture into western states.

The map below shows satellite-based measurements of rain, snow, and other wintry precipitation as it has accumulated over California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona this year. Specifically, it adds the daily precipitation totals from December 31, 2016, to the evening of February 20, 2017. (You can download an animation of this accumulation via the link below the image.) These are remotely-sensed estimates, and local amounts can be significantly higher when measured from the ground. The brightest areas on the map depict as much as 1000 millimeters of precipitation, or 39.37 inches.

If you have been in the flood waters in the San Jose, CA area you likely will need to be decontaminated.

According to San Jose Fire

“Anyone who has come into contact with the murky brown water is being decontaminated because of fears about overflowing sewage lines, oil and gas from vehicles trapped in the water or household chemicals that might have leaked into the flood waters.”

Images from the Ground

UPDATE: Releases from the Anderson Reservoir are causing record flooding on Coyote Creek near San Jose, CA. In the…

Posted by WeatherNation on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

California Flooding Viewed From the Air

Just how much rain has fallen in California? Take a flight with officials as they survey river conditions, levees and localized – Video: Cal OES

Posted by WeatherNation on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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