A series of fast-moving storms were to bring heavy snowfall to parts of the western U.S. Friday night and into the weekend, including the higher elevations of Northern California. Heavy rainfall was to be common across the lowlands of Northern California, with several days of soaking rains in store... This rainy event had taken place from February 5-9, 2014. The driest winter on record was finally getting a downpour of relief this weekend with a series of storms expected to deliver in a few days double the amount of rainfall the Bay Area has seen all season!
For the first time in many months, some truly substantial precipitation was headed for California. This week's Pineapple Express was a marvelous break from the extraordinary dry conditions that have gripped California for the past many months. This event was to occur starting late Wednesday and continue into the weekend. This "Pineapple Express" was to impact California through Sunday, likely bringing enough precipitation to make a noticeable dent in the state's dire drought conditions, though the exceptionally dry and hard soils caused by California's driest year in its history are forcing the heavy rains to run off faster than usual, reducing the amount of moisture that can soak into the soil. Narrow bands of copious moisture originating in the subtropics like this weekend's "Pineapple Express" are called atmospheric rivers and are responsible for about 30 - 50% of California's yearly rainfall.
Timing of the storms: The first system had arrived late Wednesday. The second system was to arrive over the weekend. Moderate to locally heavy rain was possible across the region. While this event wasn't expected to deliver tremendous rainfall, the cumulative effect will bring some relief and will help to keep the landscape damp, rather than tinder dry. The 1st weather system had spread rain across the region late Wednesday night with moderate rainfall and continued into Thursday. A 2nd, wetter storm system would then bring more rain to the San Francisco Bay Area pretty much thru the whole weekend. The bulk of this atmospheric river event was forecast on Saturday. Much of the rain fell north of San Francisco, leaving our area out of the bulk of the moisture, unluckily. Our area had received just below an inch of accumulated rainfall from this event. This was a highly orographic storm, meaning mountainous areas received intense rainfall while the valley amounts were significantly less, like here in San Jose, CA.
Despite this atmospheric river event, much more rain is needed to alleviate a drought emergency gripping the state. California was getting some help from mother nature, although the rain and snow still won't be enough to make up for one of the driest rainy seasons so far...
(Video clips, time lapses and pics taken from around San Jose, CA)
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