Another atmospheric river storm is battering California

Emergency declared in the US state; Third such storm to affect it since December 26
The storm has already left more than 76,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area of California and nearly 19,000 more along the Central Coast without electricity. Screengrab: Earth null school
The storm has already left more than 76,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area of California and nearly 19,000 more along the Central Coast without electricity. Screengrab: Earth null school

A new, powerful storm is heading towards California, the United States, threatening the state with flooding, landslides, high winds and power outages. The storm has tapped into an atmospheric river, according to local media reports. The state was recovering from another powerful storm that hit it just days ago. 

As the storm arrives, many areas will also be confronted with the effects of a bomb cyclone. 

The storm is termed a “bomb cyclone” because it is expected to be marked by a quick drop in atmospheric pressure resulting in a high-intensity storm. A possible tornado also touched down near Montgomery, Alabama, early January 4, 2023, reported news website USA Today.

The new storm is part of a series of atmospheric river storms that climate scientists forecast will continue this month, reported news website CNBC

The latest California storm is one of three atmospheric river storms since December 26, 2022 to reach the state. 

Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow bands of moisture in the atmosphere that extend from the tropics to higher latitudes. These rivers in the sky can transport 15 times the volume of the Mississippi River. 

When that moisture reaches the coast and moves inland, it rises over the mountains, generating rain and snowfall. Atmospheric rivers occur globally, affecting the west coasts of the world’s major land masses, including Portugal, Western Europe, Chile and South Africa. 

California governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency January 4, 2023 to allow a quick response. The storm generated almost 14-metre-high waves out at sea, dropped soaking rain on already saturated ground, and prompted warnings of floods and mudslides, reported USA Today

The southern part of the state is severely affected, tweeted US’s official Twitter account for the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center.

Evacuations have been ordered in high-risk coastal areas, Indian daily Hindustan Times reported. The storm has already left more than 76,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area and nearly 19,000 more along the Central Coast without electricity. 

Dozens of flights out of San Francisco have been cancelled and some schools have also cancelled classes for students. The storm was forecast to drop over 25 centimetres of rain. 

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