The western coast of the United States has been hit relentlessly by a series of atmospheric rivers — essentially plumes of concentrated moisture at the altitude where airplanes commonly fly — since the end of December.
This abundant moisture has dumped excessive amounts of rain, especially in Central and Northern California, which has led to flooding, landslides and numerous power outages.
Forecasters warn that this series of storms could continue into mid-January.
Here is where forecasters believe the rain will fall over the next five days.
Even small amounts of additional rainfall could lead to flash flooding because the ground is saturated from previous rainfall. This weakens the soil and can lead to landslides.
But it isn’t just rain. In the higher elevations, snow has fallen by the foot, and more is on the way. The potential impacts on daily life and travel from this winter weather are shown on the map below.
All of these precipitation hazards have been accompanied by strong winds, which have been widespread and gusted to more than 50 miles per hour at times.
This extreme weather has combined to produce power outages across the West. Nearly 141,000 utility customers were without power across California as of Thursday afternoon, according to poweroutage.us.