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"Atmospheric River" Event Dropping Heavy Rain and Snow on These Regions, Starting Tomorrow

The weather pattern could bring as much as 8 inches of rain to some areas.

Depending on where you live, winter can mean facing major blizzards and freezing temperatures in the forecast. But even during the coldest months of the year, weather patterns can bring any kind of precipitation in overwhelming amounts. And now, meteorologists warn that an "atmospheric river" will bring heavy rain and snow to some regions. Read on to see what's in the forecast for these places starting tomorrow.

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Some areas of the U.S. are dealing with heavy snowfall today.

Man shoveling the show on bright winter day

The first few weeks of 2024 have already brought plenty of rough weather, and it appears January is going out at the same busy pace at which it started. For those in the Northeast, that means dealing with yet another fresh dumping of snow.

On Jan. 28, a mix of precipitation hit the region to cap off the weekend, Fox Weather reports. Towns in the Catskill Mountains in New York saw as much as six to 10 inches of snow, while parts of northern Massachusetts saw four to seven inches accumulate.

While the white stuff has already stopped falling in most areas, meteorologists forecast that the system could still produce some patches of light snow in some places through the rest of the day, per Fox Weather. But now, another region is gearing up for a significant weather event of its own.

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Back-to-back "atmospheric rivers" will bring wet and snowy conditions throughout the western U.S.

man carrying umbrella rainy day
Dusan Milenkovic / Shutterstock

After dealing with drenched conditions over the weekend, the West Coast is now gearing up for another onslaught of rain. Meteorologists say that a series of "atmospheric river" events will bring plenty of warm temperatures and moisture from Washington to Southern California over the course of the week, Fox Weather reports.

As its name suggests, an atmospheric river describes a weather pattern in which heavy moisture flows into a concentrated area. This specific set of events will be brought by a recurring pattern known as the "Pineapple Express" that flows from ocean waters near Hawaii to the Western Seaboard of the U.S., according to Fox Weather. This week, the infamous pattern—which can bring enough moisture to create 10 to 15 inches of rain—could cause flooding in its wake.

"That jet stream is going to be oriented right from west to east, and that means very warm air and a lot of Pacific juice coming right across parts of California into northern New Mexico," Bob Van Dillen, a Fox Weather meteorologist, said while explaining the forecast. "We see that fetch coming all the way from Hawaii, and that's going to stretch through the Pacific and into lower parts of California."

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Rain will likely start in northern areas before heading south.

A traffic guard in hi-vis gear guides a car away from a flooded area in a street

The beginnings of the latest atmospheric river event will likely strike just above the U.S. on Tuesday, bringing rain to British Columbia, Canada, before pushing south into the Pacific Northwest. Oregon and parts of Northern California could begin to see warm temperatures and heavy precipitation as early as Tuesday evening, with potential flooding in some areas possible, per Fox Weather.

By Wednesday, intense rain is expected to continue through Northern California, where localized flooding could be an issue, according to the Weather Channel. The San Francisco Bay area could see anywhere from three to five inches of precipitation, while areas farther north could get doused with as much as five to eight inches.

And it's not just water that will fall from the sky: The Sierra Nevada Mountains region will also see heavy snowfall throughout the day, including at lower elevations.

Conditions could become more treacherous at the end of the week.

heavy rain on asphalt
Gabriela Tulian / Shutterstock

By Thursday, the intense rainfall is expected to continue its southward push into Southern California as it hits Los Angeles and San Diego—all while rainy conditions linger in its wake back through the Pacific Northwest, the Weather Channel reports. Due to lingering damp conditions from last week, all of these regions could see an increased risk of flooding, landslides, or rockslides in some places.

Heavy rains are expected to continue in Southern California on Friday, while wet weather begins to push into Arizona and New Mexico later in the day and as the weekend begins, Fox Weather forecasts. Rainfall along the coast is then expected to finally start fading off by the evening before mostly clearing through Saturday as heavy snowfall pushes into the Rocky Mountains, according to the Weather Channel.

But the region might not have much time to dry out from the latest bout of rain. Meteorologists are already warning that another atmospheric river event could develop and hit the area as early as Sunday, with the forecast developing as more information becomes available, per the Weather Channel.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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