California residents evacuate due to extreme weather

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Northern CA is experiencing historic and catastrophic weather as 50,000 people across the state are being evacuated. Mudslides, massive flooding, hail, and thunderstorms. Six major storms hit the state in the last two weeks, and four more are expected in the next ten days.

“The frequency of the storms is what really hammers us,” said meteorologist Ed Phillips.

These extreme storms are largely cause by atmospheric rivers, streams of extremely moist air that flow through the atmosphere. They could be described as a jet stream of moist air.

“Almost all of us have heard of the jet stream,” said Phillips. “What happens in the winter time, those winds sag farther to the south, and, if they tap into some tropical moisture, that’s when you get the river.”

This type of event is not unprecedented. Back in 1978 and 1980, Arizona experienced a similar “parade of storms,” according to Phillips. However, this year Arizona has not shared much of the rain from the California storms. In fact, Arizona had not yet had a major snow storm in the state. This could be a shock to some Arizonans because this year is a La Nina, which is sometimes associated with drier weather in the South West. As Phillips says, this typical La Nina pattern does not always play out in the Grand Canyon State.

“The correlation between El Nino and La Nina and our weather is really not very good here in Arizona,” Phillips said.

For the rest of the winter season, the Arizona is forecasted to be wetter the normal. However, as Phillips pointed out, it is difficult for meteorologists to confidently forecast farther than a week or two.

Ed Phillips

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