Over the last few weeks, storms slamming California have delivered torrential rain, extensive flooding, and a near-disaster at one of state’s largest reservoirs. But the atmospheric river superstorm sweeping across the state today could be the most dangerous this season, if not in decades. Here’s why.
The storm hitting Northern California is a particularly wet, slow-moving system in a string of atmospheric river events, which funnel moisture from the tropical Pacific towards California. These weather systems have saturated the ground and pushed stream flows to historic limits.
While it’s just drizzling in Southern California, many of the rivers that could flood in the northern half of the state today are the ones that supply Los Angeles with water, thanks to our extensive aqueduct system. The San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers, for example, are the main tributaries of the California State Water Project, the hub which provides drinking water to 23 million of California’s 39 million people.