08 December 2015

the storms of autumn 2015 Really like us!

This has been an exceptional wet season. The number of atmospheric-river events seems way above average - and every one feels like it has visited our home for an extended time! I have not counted these events in the past, but I'd say that three is a pretty typical number. As a life-long Portland resident I found that most of them hung out in Washington. I especially remember those that did great damage to outdoor sites: at least once the Wonderland Trail around Mt.Rainier was put into major disrepair, and of course the time that Kennedy Hot Springs was erased from the Glacier Peak map by forty feet or so of mud. Several others that didn't do such huge damage also come to mind, like I-5 becoming a long narrow lake in the Centralia a time or two.

This year has seen at least five atmo-river events, perhaps more. Two hit during and after Veterans day, and thus we endured a week with 10 inches of rain poured on our roof. 

Portland was hammered with over 2½" of rain yesterday while we had about half that.  Today's storm hit Portland with an inch of rain then lifted to focus on a zone between Scappoose (two siblings & a neice live in that area) and our place - a persistent yellow-gold radar echo has been in place for a few hours now, with Portlandon the ragged southern edge of the rain shield. As I type at 9:45 our rain gage is at 3.11" and climbing at about .2" per hour, and it's expected to continue in a similar pattern overnight.

A Quick Fact from the ESRL website: On average, about 30-50% of annual precipitation in the west coast states occurs in just a few AR events, thus contributing to water supply.

And from Wikipedia: Atmospheric rivers are typically several thousand kilometers long and only a few hundred kilometers wide, and a single one can carry a greater flux of water than the Amazon River!

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