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What is the “Pineapple Express?”

The newest weather jargon that is showing up this week in the media is “Pineapple Express.”  Even though there is a movie of this name from the past few years, the term has actually been around for a decade or more in meteorology.  It refers to a phenomenon called an “atmospheric river”, which is a concentrated band of moisture flowing into an area.  Most often atmospheric river events occur on the west coast, particularly in California, although they can occur anywhere there are good moisture sources feeding into an area.  The storm that is starting to affect California right now is considered an atmospheric river event, which means ample flow of moisture into the area which will result in rainfall of up to several inches in depth, plus growing snow packs in higher elevations.  My brother in Sacramento CA is preparing his farm for up to five inches of rain.  The source of the moisture is from near Hawaii, which explains why it is linked to pineapple.

The Capital Weather Gang at the Washington Post has an informative article on the current Pineapple Express and its impacts on the California drought here.  You can read a local perspective on the storm at the Santa Cruz Waves here.

AtmosphericRiver