Climate Change

US Pacific Northwest deluged with rain, snow due to ‘Bomb Cyclone’

Two people killed in greater Seattle; heavy rain and snow pound all major cities of California, Washington and Oregon, recently plagued with wildfires

 
By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 25 October 2021
The 'Bomb Cyclone' off the US Pacific Northwest. Photo: @NWSWPC / Twitter
The 'Bomb Cyclone' off the US Pacific Northwest. Photo: @NWSWPC / Twitter
 The 'Bomb Cyclone' off the US Pacific Northwest. Photo: @NWSWPC / Twitter

The United States Pacific Northwest, consisting of the states of Washington, Oregon and California, has been deluged with rain and snow as a ‘bomb cyclone’ took effect and unleashed a storm October 24, 2021.

The USA Today daily reported that over 160,000 homes and businesses in California, more than 170,000 in Washington and over 28,000 in Oregon had been left without power October 24 due to the extreme weather.

USA Today further reported that the storm had been most severe in the northern and central portions of California and parts of southern Oregon. Two people were killed when a tree fell on a vehicle in the greater Seattle area.

Almost all the big cities of the US west coast including Seattle, those in the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and San Rafael as well as the capital of California, Sacramento, received heavy rain. In fact, Sacramento was well on its way to breaking a precipitation record.

USA Today quoted Jon Porter, a meteorologist, as saying that a bomb cyclone forms when air pressure rapidly drops as the storm explosively strengthens. The bomb cyclone has been pulling deep tropical moisture from the Pacific, creating an “atmospheric river”, according to Porter.

He described the river as a “firehose of moisture in the sky” capable of unleashing intense rain and mountain snow.

American climate scientist Daniel Swain expressed amazement at the bomb cyclone as seen in satellite photographs.

California and the Pacific Northwest of North America are witnessing the rain after having been through a brutal heatwave this summer.

The rain and snow are expected to extinguish the various wildfires that have been burning in California since the summer. These include the Caldor fire that started August 14 in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, east of Sacramento and had burned 221,775 acres till October 24. The fire has now been contained, according to reports.

However, the fires created another problem in the lead-up to the bomb cyclone. They had stripped a large part of the landscape of foliage, stripping the ground naked. Experts had predicted that such burnt areas would be more prone to mudlsides.

Several parts of California, including the Santa Cruz mountains and parts of western Santa Barbara county, had instated evacuation orders because of their proximity to burnt areas.

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