Why is California Getting So Much Rain?

January 11, 2017 12:19 PM

Hundreds of people have fled from their homes in northern California and Nevada as a massive winter storm packing heavy rain, strong wind and lightning caused mudslides and widespread flooding.

The Russian River in California’s Sonoma Co. and the Truckee River near Reno, Nev. Overflowed their banks. Officials say both waterways could stay at the flood stage for days.

Mudslides caused road closures across the region, including along major highways. Heavy snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is being measured in feet rather than inches.

The back-to-back storms are part of an “atmospheric river” weather system that draws precipitation from the Pacific Ocean. The system, also known as the “Pineapple Express,” poses catastrophic risks for areas hit by the heaviest rain.

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