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Historical and National Perspectives on Extreme West Coast Precipitation Associated with Atmospheric Rivers during December 2010

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  • 1 NOAA/ESRL, Physical Sciences Division, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 U.S. Geological Survey, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
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Strong winter storms battered the U.S. West Coast from Western Washington to Southern California in December 2010, producing as much as 250–670 mm (10–26 in. of rain) in mountainous areas (Fig. 1). A common denominator among these events is that the synoptic weather patterns produced a series of strong atmospheric rivers (AR) that transported large amounts of water vapor from over the Pacific Ocean to the U.S. West Coast (Fig. 2). These ARs fueled the heavy rain and flooding, and provided beneficial increases in snowpack. For example, the Southern Sierra snowpack increased from 27% of 1

Strong winter storms battered the U.S. West Coast from Western Washington to Southern California in December 2010, producing as much as 250–670 mm (10–26 in. of rain) in mountainous areas (Fig. 1). A common denominator among these events is that the synoptic weather patterns produced a series of strong atmospheric rivers (AR) that transported large amounts of water vapor from over the Pacific Ocean to the U.S. West Coast (Fig. 2). These ARs fueled the heavy rain and flooding, and provided beneficial increases in snowpack. For example, the Southern Sierra snowpack increased from 27% of 1

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: F. Martin Ralph, NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences Division, 325 Broadway, R/PSD2, Boulder, CO 80305-3328, E-mail: marty.ralph@noaa.gov

Strong winter storms battered the U.S. West Coast from Western Washington to Southern California in December 2010, producing as much as 250–670 mm (10–26 in. of rain) in mountainous areas (Fig. 1). A common denominator among these events is that the synoptic weather patterns produced a series of strong atmospheric rivers (AR) that transported large amounts of water vapor from over the Pacific Ocean to the U.S. West Coast (Fig. 2). These ARs fueled the heavy rain and flooding, and provided beneficial increases in snowpack. For example, the Southern Sierra snowpack increased from 27% of 1

Strong winter storms battered the U.S. West Coast from Western Washington to Southern California in December 2010, producing as much as 250–670 mm (10–26 in. of rain) in mountainous areas (Fig. 1). A common denominator among these events is that the synoptic weather patterns produced a series of strong atmospheric rivers (AR) that transported large amounts of water vapor from over the Pacific Ocean to the U.S. West Coast (Fig. 2). These ARs fueled the heavy rain and flooding, and provided beneficial increases in snowpack. For example, the Southern Sierra snowpack increased from 27% of 1

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: F. Martin Ralph, NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences Division, 325 Broadway, R/PSD2, Boulder, CO 80305-3328, E-mail: marty.ralph@noaa.gov
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