Our biggest storms are hurricane-scale storms. And there’s no place other than the hurricane belt that you get storms this big. So really, when we have a big, bad storm here, there’s no reason to apologize. Our big, bad storms are as bad as anyone else’s.

Michael Dettinger
Research Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that it snowed the equivalent of 5.7 trillion gallons of water on California in January. On the first day of February, the snowpack in the Sierra is 108 percent of what it usually is on the first day of April.

This is the result of the atmospheric rivers that hit the state throughout the month — long, narrow bands of water that originate in the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean, travel across the ocean, and come onshore in California. Researchers tracked January’s storms from start to finish.

Read about atmospheric rivers in News Deeply

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