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Original 2019

Meteorologists nationwide have decided to begin rating atmospheric rivers (AR), storms that have the potential for millions of dollars in losses and severe flooding. However, what exactly is an atmospheric river? It’s a long, narrow river of condensed water vapor in the atmosphere that moves with the weather. A strong river can carry between 7.5 -25 times the flow of water that passes through the mouth of the Mississippi River. These rivers in the sky can be 300 miles wide, a mile deep and more than 1,000 miles long. Most are small, but they can be massive and fast-moving, and when the storms make landfall, they often release rain or snow, sometimes in large amounts. They account for 50 percent of the annual precipitation in California, and are the West Coast’s big storms. The storms develop in the tropics and are also known as the Pineapple Express. They are a default feature of the entire global water cycle, and are present somewhere on the planet at any given time.

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