Massive Atmospheric River Strikes Pacific Northwest

Atmospheric River stretches thousands of miles, begins in subtropics east of Guam

An atmospheric river raced across the Pacific Ocean and then slammed into the Pacific Northwest Friday.

The Snohomish River is running high on Saturday, November 5, 2022. The Down Town bridge in Snohomish, Washington is clearly visible in the distance.
The Snohomish River in Washington State on Saturday, November 5, 2022.

High winds thrashed trees and knocked out power to more than 300,000 customers in Western Washington.

Southeast of Mount Rainier, White Pass recorded a wind gust of 104 miles per hour.

According to atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass, “The atmospheric river of Thursday/Friday did not disappoint, with some locations securing nearly 10 inches of precipitation (see 48-h totals below).”

Due to a rain shadow, the central Puget Sound region did not receive the heavy rains that impacted other areas.

The storm brought snow to the mountains and mostly mild flooding to the lowlands.

Prior to the storm’s arrival, Beyond 90 Seconds went live on Facebook along the Snohomish River in downtown Snohomish. The purpose of the live report was to document that day’s appearance of the river so that we could later see how much the water level would change by Friday and Saturday.

Beyond 90 Seconds’ cameras returned to the river on Friday and Saturday.

A chronology of our coverage can be found in the YouTube playlist below.

In his blog post The Lowland Snow Outlook, A Wind Surge through the Strait, Amazing Precipitation Totals, and Problematic Passes, Mass writes, “It is probably time for the US Drought Monitor to drop the SEVERE drought over western Washington.” 

See the National Weather Service forecast for Western Washington here.

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