Unsettled weather with a barrage of heavy rain and mountain snow will continue across the western United States into next week

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Unsettled weather with a barrage of heavy rain and mountain snowfall will once again affect the western United States, meteorologists say.

At least two storms will hit the region compounded by an atmospheric river lingering over the region.

There is a risk of flooding due to this weather event.

Unstable weather forecast

(Photo: Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The western United States will remain unsettled with additional torrential rains and high-altitude snow forecast, according to AccuWeatherwhich meteorologists said would combine multiple storms and moisture-driven cold air mass waves.

The combination of said weather hazards will keep the region wet and cold until next week.

This comes as the fall season in the country is already in its final month.

Before winter in December, power outages and flooding are possible in urban and rural areas of the West.

Read also : Atmospheric river rages Pacific Northwest

What are atmospheric rivers?

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)atmospheric rivers are long, narrow regions of the atmosphere that carry most of the water vapor out of the tropics.

These columns of steam travel over time, carrying an amount of water vapor approximately equivalent to the average water flow at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

NOAA added that these rivers in the sky often dump water vapor as rain or snow when they hit the ground.

For example, the US agency cites that the same weather phenomenon previously fueled a storm over California.

Similar to storms and other weather systems, atmospheric rivers can create extreme rainfall and flooding when they carry large amounts of water vapor.

The Science Behind Atmospheric Rivers

Over the past several months, US weather authorities and other weather forecasters have reported recurring atmospheric rivers affecting the western United States, particularly the southwestern United States, as the weather event has resulted in precipitation from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

It was also the same time when the North American monsoon or tropical humidity flooded the region.

According to NOAA, an atmospheric river or AR is officially known as a column of water vapor flowing through the atmosphere, responsible for generating significant precipitation or snowfall, especially in the American West.

The coverage of a strong AR is capable of bringing moisture from the tropics near Hawaii and to the West Coast of the United States.

At the end of October 2021, the National Weather Service (NWS) reported historic torrential rain and high winds brought by an atmospheric river, which was driven by an early-season storm in the California Bay Area.

The mentioned engine of the AR was a deep low pressure system, which generated large and powerful waves along the west coast.

The dangers of atmospheric rivers

The World Economic Forum stated that atmospheric rivers can be problematic under the following circumstances:

  • Atmospheric rivers can replenish water supplies and extinguish active forest fires in dry weather.
  • The weather phenomenon can cause flooding and damaging debris flows, wreaking havoc on local economies in wet weather.
  • Research predicts that these rivers in the atmosphere can cause an average economic cost of $1.1 billion in flood damage per year in the western United States.

The forum points out that if you ask an individual what is the name of the largest river in the world, it looks like the Amazon, the Nile or the Mississippi.

However, the organization reiterated that the largest rivers on Earth are in the sky, which can produce powerful storms.

Related article: Atmospheric River to cover Pacific Northwest, Gulf Coast system weakens in south [NWS]

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