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Figure 1. MiRS NOAA-20/ATMS retrieved TPW (descending and ascending orbits) on 24 October 2021 over the eastern Pacific and West Coast region. The atmospheric river is clearly seen. Locations of the four vertical cross-sections shown in Figure 2 are indicated by the dashed lines.

NOAA’s MiRs Captures Category 5 Rainfall Event in California

On October 24, a powerful Category 5 (the maximum possible) atmospheric river (AR) occurred over the northern and central parts of California. The storm system featured record breaking precipitation, leading to flooding and mudslides in some locations, along with dangerous winds exceeding 70 miles per hour at higher elevations. San Francisco recorded its fourth highest single-day rainfall amount of over 4 inches. Satellite passive microwave measurements are one of the observational tools that allow depiction of these extreme events, since microwaves are less affected by clouds and precipitation.

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