Atmospheric Rivers Cause Problems in California

a house and a car damaged by a mudslide
Atmospheric rivers have caused mudslides in areas of Los Angeles.

You have heard of blizzards. You have heard of hurricanes. You have heard of tornadoes. Have you ever heard of atmospheric rivers?

Atmospheric rivers are large, narrow columns of water vapor [a substance in its gas state] in the atmosphere [the layer of gases that surround the Earth].

They are called atmospheric rivers because they carry so much water. They are like rivers in the sky. When atmospheric rivers reach land, they often cause rain or snow.

In the middle of February, a large atmospheric river arrived in California. It brought water from thousands of miles away onto the California coast. It has caused heavy rains and some flooding. It may cause more flooding in North California and mudslides in Los Angeles. New damage may be very hard on residents. Remember, many areas are still recovering from wildfires this summer.

What Can You Do: If a storm is approaching, be sure to contact an adult and go to a safe place.

Photo Credit: Susan Cannon, USGS