New study: Clusters of atmospheric rivers are costlier than expected
Early in 2023, a series of storms dumped record-breaking amounts of rain and snow across California. Flooding, power outages, and mudslides from the deluge resulted in 21 deaths and over $3 billion in losses. The deluge resulted from streams of water vapor in the sky known as atmospheric rivers, which paraded over California one after another. In all, nine atmospheric rivers hit California between Dec. 26, 2022, and Jan. 17, 2023. New research from Stanford University suggests back-to-back atmospheric rivers, which are likely to become more common because of climate change, bring particularly severe damages. The study, published Jan. 19 in Science Advances, shows that atmospheric rivers arriving in rapid succession cause three to four times more economic damage than they would have individually by drenching already-saturated soils and increasing flood risks.