This is a screen grab of the atmospheric river pouring in California. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about atmospheric rivers. It's quite illuminating:
The term was originally coined by researchers Reginald Newell and Yong Zhu of theMassachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 1990s, to reflect the narrowness of the moisture plumes involved. 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 Earth's largest river, the Amazon River. There are typically 3-5 of these narrow plumes present within a hemisphere at any given time.A greater flux of water than the Amazon River? No wonder this storm dropped more than ten inches (25 cm) of rain in three days. Well, to be perfectly honest, this storm gave us 8 1/2 inches (21.59 cm) of rain on Friday and Saturday. We had 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) on Thursday from a cold front that came through. On Friday the warm front known as the Pineapple Express arrived, and as I sit here and type this on Sunday morning, it is still lightly raining. We've gotten more rain in three days than average rainfall for the entire month of February. Yikes.
We're hoping for more rain over the next few days and weeks. Sure would be nice to get it a few hours at a time, a few days a week, instead of all at once.
Still, if the atmosphere wants to cry us a river, we'll take it whenever we can get it.