Blustery, boiling winds this mid-morning Saturday here in California’s Central Valley, as we’re on the leading edge of a supposedly massive winter storm just now crashing into the West Coast — so far, we’ve just mostly caught the wind (some right showers last night), but in a bit, maybe by early afternoon, we’ll catch the heavy-duty wet shit, which reportedly will be a gusher.
And the upheaval will apparently continue beyond us out here, driving into America’s heartland next week.
The weather highly-influenced/pushed by what’s called an “atmospheric river,” one well-known example is the “Pineapple Express” — nutshell via NOAA: ‘Atmospheric rivers are relatively long, narrow regions in the atmosphere — like rivers in the sky — that transport most of the water vapor outside of the tropics. These columns of vapor move with the weather, carrying an amount of water vapor roughly equivalent to the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River. When the atmospheric rivers make landfall, they often release this water vapor in the form of rain or snow.‘
‘Tropics,’ hence the ‘pineapple‘ in the name. Also a hybrid marijuana strain. According to Leafy: ‘Pineapple Express produces long-lasting energetic effects that you can feel right away. Pineapple Express is 18% THC and may make you feel buzzy, alert, and creative. The best time to smoke Pineapple Express is in the morning, afternoon, or early evening hours.‘
Or evidently anytime, really, except maybe after midnight.
However, in this particular case right now we’re into the weather one.
It's going to be a busy day in the #West with numerous weather hazards expected from a potent storm. #BeWeatherReady with the latest weather forecast information from your local NWS Weather Forecast Office. https://t.co/VyWINDBEpn pic.twitter.com/GsCWhjfY1e
— National Weather Service (@NWS) December 10, 2022
A few details, or predictions, via The Weather Channel earlier this morning:
A major winter storm will blanket California and the West through the weekend, then become a Northern Plains blizzard, then could dump significant snow in parts of the Northeast later next week.
T?his will be the first winter storm that will have impacts from coast to coast so far this season. It has been named Winter Storm Diaz by The Weather Channel. There is also a threat for severe thunderstorms in parts of the South. For details on that, click here.
That’s because a powerful, southward plunge of the jet stream will plow eastward across the country this weekend into late next week.
As we await the rain — wind can be heard right now lashing in the outdoors — this an interesting adventure seeking a better understanding of these ‘atmospheric rivers.’
A storm can present an opportunity — from The Washington Post yesterday afternoon:
A storm fed by an airborne fire hose of water — known as an atmospheric river — is set to bombard California this weekend, dropping up to 5 feet of snow in the mountains, with rain falling everywhere else.
At the same time, it will present another opportunity for scientists to better understand these phenomena — earlier in California’s wet season than in years past — by flying planes into them.
Since 2016, Hurricane Hunter aircraft have been flying into atmospheric rivers from January to mid-March. But this year, such flights began in November — extending the window to collect vital data, at a time when these events can be particularly intense.
“Climatologically, November and December can bring some of the worst floods” to the western United States, said Marty Ralph, director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
During the last three winters, landfalling atmospheric rivers have triggered presidentially-declared flood disasters in the Pacific Northwest. That’s what motivated the decision to make early-season flights part of the federal National Winter Season Operations Plan. As a result, the Air Force Weather Reconnaissance Squadron is available on an as-needed basis to fly through atmospheric rivers headed toward the West Coast, in addition to coverage from the Gulfstream IV jet from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Under this expanded framework, the first two missions were flown last month. On Nov. 5, the season’s inaugural flight collected data on an atmospheric river poised to strike the Northwest; the day after, a second flight headed toward California.
The early November storm got the West’s water year off to a much-welcome soggy start following three years of drought, and the good fortune has continued into December.
According to Anna Wilson, the field research manager for the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, the Hurricane Hunters are looking for clues on atmospheric river intensity, such as the strength of their water vapor transport. Atmospheric rivers can carry 25 times the water equivalent of the Mississippi River in a stream up to 500 miles wide and 2,000 miles long.
Go read the whole piece, climate change-type material.
One decent consideration on these kinds of storms — I’ve gone through many — is the temperature is warmish or at least isn’t a cold-driven misery like those originating in the thereabouts of Alaska and parts northbound. Just heavy wind and then a shitload of rain.
We’re in a drought, we need it.
Meanwhile, the doobie movie of the weed and the trifecta of joint-smoking power:
James Franco should have stayed off the express, huh?
Pipe, joint, or neither, awaiting the rain, here we are once again…
(Illustration out front: MC Escher’s ‘Old Olive Tree, Corsica‘ (1934). and found here)