Imagine a long stream of water vapor over the sky which enters the West Coast.

Over the weekend, and into next week, parts of the West Coast will turn from extreme drought into a series of bomb cyclones which are causing an atmospheric flow.

The bomb cyclone, named for the speed at which it intensifies or ‘bombs out,’ is likely to approach or set records for the lowest pressure level of a northern Pacific storm.

The storms are referred to as “atmospheric rivers,”- narrow bands of concentrated moisture in the atmosphere that rise from the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean and go more than two miles (two kilometers) above the sea.

The storm system moving toward the West Coast is so intense that it is known as the ‘bomb cyclone,’ and is helping to drive a moisture flow toward northern California.

The National Weather Service expects some rain and snow, mostly in northern Utah, on Saturday, but the storm is expected to be smaller than the beginning of the week.

The storm that currently rages along the coast of Washington state is called an “atmospheric river”

The storm is also expected to bring heavy snowfall to the Sierra Nevada for skiers.


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Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. On Earth, (wikipedia)

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service is an agency of the United States federal government that is tasked with providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, (wikipedia)

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, founded in 1903, is one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean and Earth science research, public service, (wikipedia)

University of California, San Diego

The University of California, San Diego is a public land-grant research university in San Diego, California. Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, (wikipedia)