What is an atmospheric river?


An atmospheric river is more commonly known as a pineapple express

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Wednesday’s soaker arrived courtesy of what is more commonly known as a “pineapple express.” It’s like a flowing river in the sky direct from Hawaii. 

Atmospheric rivers can bring both beneficial rain to the west coast and at times too much rain all at once.  

Atmospheric river depicted Tuesday night, the night before a day full of rain.

Wednesday’s atmospheric river delivered a healthy shot of rain to the coast and surrounding hills in the coast range. Astoria wrapped up the day with one inch of rain. Portland 0.37” and Salem just over half an inch.  

Rain totals since midnight for Oct. 16, 2019.

This time the fire hose was pointed more towards the WA coast. Naturally, when you have strong winds driving the moisture almost perpendicular to the mountain ranges, you get a rain shadow effect. Basically, higher terrain steals the moisture and whatever is leftover falls to the valley floor. 

24 hour Rain totals for Oct. 16, 2019. (NWS)

For those who love analyzing Skew T’s, this one’s for you. This is the 00Z Salem, OR sounding. Look at those wind barbs. Surface winds were from the south but that 115 knot jet was screaming in from the southwest. 

We love AR’s but with all things, moderation is best. In the next few days we’ll continue with wet and windy weather. By Sunday and Monday, we may be tapping into that subtropical moisture again.  

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