The Pineapple Express has paid a visit to Northern California. The area that was recently under a severe drought watch is now being drenched by a weekend of rain. It is a wild but welcome and much-needed sight to most people living in California.
This storm is one that is moving in from Hawaii, known as the Pineapple Express. The Pineapple Express brings with it an extreme stream of moisture. This flow of rain builds in the Pacific Ocean near the Hawaiian Islands. It is made up of narrow bands that forcefully charge their way east. When the Pineapple Express hits land, it brings forth a heavy and pounding rain with intense force.
Some flooding of streets and highways is possible and expected. Driving in areas that are questionable should be avoided. Streams may also be affected. Caution and safety are required to avoid any instances of harm to pets and people. There is also a high possibility of mudslides.
California has been in a drought. This storm brings more moisture with it than California has seen in the past year. Even with the Pineapple Express drenching Northern California, experts are still asking people to be wise about conserving water.
There are plenty of residents that are already aware of the conservation problem. They have said that this is one thing that is taken quite seriously. These residents have placed various sizes of containers out to catch the rain water. They plan on using the water collected for their flowers and plants.
The storm also brought along with it some much-needed snow for the skiers and snowboarders. Lake Tahoe received a foot of snowfall. They are expected to have even more by the end of the weekend. California’s water supply will benefit from the snow as well. The water level numbers are on the rise.
After the weekend of rain, more rainfall is expected towards the middle of the week. One meteorologist from the Golden Gate Weather Services, Jan Null, said that what was needed was a bunch more of this type of rainfall. She said it was a good start, but people were hoping for more.
San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose have all gotten about two to three inches of rain since July. That means they are only at 25 percent of where they should be. This recent downpour will bring that number up. It is possible that it will rise to 50 percent, but that remains to be seen.
However, a team of scientists had left from Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, to fly over the California coast. They flew into the atmospheric river, otherwise known as the Pineapple Express. According to Ryan Spackman from Boulder Colorado’s NOAA Earth System Research Lab, they did this so they could do research and provide better forecasting of future events. The forecasts would include locations of future atmospheric rivers and future precipitation amounts.
In California, and along the West Coast, fifty percent of the precipitation has been attributed to atmospheric rivers. Future storms that are comparable to this Pineapple Express storm are not expected to be seen in the near future. There is hope, however, that the immovable high pressure ridge that blocks storms can now be broken down. According to Daniel Swain of Stanford University, more rainfall is possible for the rest of the winter.
The Pineapple Express has always been notorious for bringing with it a deluge of drenching rain when it hits Northern California. Southern California has also seen what it can bring in the way of storms with torrential rain. The Pineapple Express is also well-known for bringing a heavy and wet snow cover to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There have been times in the past that it has helped move California out of drought status. Californians are hoping that this will be one of those times.
by Saki Kahala
The San Francisco Examiner
The Modesto Bee
CBS Local Sonoma County