The Pacific Northwest Is About to Get Very, Very Wet

Atmospheric river will bring heavy rain, floods to parts of Washington state, Oregon
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2022 9:40 AM CST
The Pacific Northwest Is About to Get Very, Very Wet
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/BrianAJackson)

If you live in Oregon or Washington state, get out your umbrellas. An atmospheric river is expected to hit the Pacific Northwest hard from Monday into Tuesday morning, with rainfall of 3 inches to 6 inches expected in that one-day span along parts of the coast, and even higher numbers in the Cascades, reports CNN. The rain will also help expedite snow melt in the mountains, which could lead to flash flooding. The New York Times notes that flood watches are in effect for sections of northwest Washington and west central Washington, which includes Seattle, Everett, and the state capital of Olympia, while flood warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service for the state's Grays and Skokomish rivers.

"Y'all thought winter was over didn't you?" Seattle's NWS ruefully tweeted on Sunday, adding that "conditions will begin to ease slightly Tuesday, but will remain unsettled for the rest of the week." The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes an atmospheric river as a "[column] of vapor," or "[river] in the sky," which, when it hits land, deposits the water vapor as rain or snow. The storm system will likely bring high winds, too, with gusts of up to 55mph along the coastline—which in turn can bring dangerous sneaker waves. The Times notes that California got slammed with a similar atmospheric river in October, causing about 100,000 customers to lose power in the Bay Area. (Read more atmospheric river stories.)

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