AR storms impact northern California: January 12-15

January 15, 2016

DRI/CW3E researcher Nina Oakley, CW3E researcher Scott Sellars and other CW3E team members evaluate two storms that had an impact on northern California as well as the Pacific Northwest from 12-15 January 2016. Fresh Sierra snow can be seen in the cover satellite image from Friday, January 15 (courtesy NWS Sacramento). The approaching clouds from the next series of storms can be seen approaching the coast as well as valley fog in the Sacramento region. The first storm event leading to this fresh snow was a moderate atmospheric river (AR) storm with 1 to over 4 inches of precipitation from northern California to the Canadian border. The second storm event was weaker and ahead of a larger scale AR that will impact the same region from 15-18 January 2016. The weaker event spun off the Aleutian Low and produced some areas of heavy snowfall in the Sierra Nevada. An outlook for the upcoming AR event for 15-18 January is also briefly examined.

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Above is a sequence of SSMI water vapor imagery from 10-13 January 2016 which shows the AR propagating towards northern California and making landfall.







Above is a sequence of SSMI water vapor imagery from 12-15 January 2016 which shows the first AR making landfall and the dissipation of the second AR as it approaches land.