The Pacific Storm Track

The Pacific Storm Track

Rain lingers over parts of California from big, slow-moving storm fronts that leave a trail of stormy weather behind. There’s a reason for that. The storms are the result of a process called the ‘California Central Low,’ a vast, monsoon-style weather system that plows through the state from the northwest through the central coast. The storms, each just as powerful as their predecessors, will move on to the eastern Sierra and Nevada, causing floods and damaging power, and then on to the Rockies and Washington, D.C., bringing snow and possibly some tornadoes.

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It’s not very often anyone gets to see one of these storms in action, if at all, but recently a researcher in Washington, D.C., was able to make the trip. And he’s sharing his unique adventure with us here, in this week’s Climate Central.

(MORE: More Than $2 Billion of Government Funds Stashed Away in California)

Kathryn Enloe, a research assistant at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in Boulder, Colorado, went up on June 1 for what’s known as a Pacific storm track. That’s a type of storm where a line of storms track across the Pacific Ocean from the west coast to the east – in other words, a ‘poster child’ for monsoon-like storms. Enloe was able to watch a storm on the west coast of the country moving away from the California coast. “The next day in San Francisco, the city was under a storm warning,” she says. “The National Weather Service went on to say that was a ‘monsoon’ and a tropical storm. So, we had a tropical storm track across the Pacific that day.”

Enloe is now back east with her camera, capturing the aftermath of the storm as it swept across the west with its signature high winds. She’s been up close and personal

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