"The ginormous storm that just tore through California has left many people wondering what it was, and what brought it on."--DRax Richardson, 8th grade
The ginormous storm that just tore through California has left many people wondering what it was, and what brought it on. It completely wrecked the west coast, causing mudslides, flooding, and lots more. In only two weeks the storm took 18 lives, which is more than the yearly fires have taken in a couple of months. So, what was the storm? Well, to put it simply, it was a mix of an Atmospheric River (or AR) and a bomb cyclone. While both those sound pretty intense they aren't as bad as the sound, usually.
What's an Atmospheric River?
An AR is usually made up from vapor from the tropics carrying that to land. Many AR’s hold around the same amount of water as the Mississippi River. While some aren't very strong, the ones the Bay Area experienced were quite damaging, with full rain and strong winds.
What's a Bomb Cyclone?
A bomb cyclone is when there's a drop in pressure at different latitudes. They’re essentially extra tropical cyclones. The problem with having a bomb cyclone and an AR in the same area is that they both urge each other on. Bomb cyclones can also create ARs. It becomes a cycle. The AR charges the bomb cyclone, which in turn charges the AR. A weird thing about a bomb cyclone, which is different than most cyclones, is that they tend to be stronger towards the outside rather than the inside, or eye or the storm.
What's the Pineapple Express?
The Pineapple Express is a common AR that comes from Hawaii and towards the West Coast of the United States and Canada. It was one of the ARs in the recent storm. It is a part of the global conveyor belt and can dump around 5 inches of precipitation on California in a day. The pineapple express is usually very helpful for California and the West Coast, bringing more rainfall, but as seen recently, it can be very disruptive and harmful.
How much do people know about the recent storm?
A poll that was taken with OSA 8th graders, says around 48% knew what the storm was. Though in second, 35% only knew a little bit about what it was. It seems like only around half of the people polled were aware of atmospheric rivers, while the rest have no idea, know a little, or only have an idea of what it is. But both bomb cyclones and the Pineapple Express don’t seem to be very well known. Thankfully, it seems like big rainstorms are over for a while. The pineapple express will continue to bring a good amount of rain through the rest of the season. To get more information about the damage of the storms head over to Ruby’s article.