The United States Braces For a Major Atmospheric River Storm.

Veronica Charnell Media
Photo courtesy of Science/HowstuffworksPhoto byHow Stuff Works

An atmospheric river event will start on the West Coast this weekend, and eventually move across the country creating hazardous weather for millions. The west coast will see a combination of heavy snow, gusty winds, and coastal flooding. Then the storm will move eastward, creating a potential of blizzard conditions in the Midwest and tornadoes in the South.

This storm has millions of Americans living on the West Coast under winter weather alerts this weekend as the potent storm system moves across the region. A measurable snow event is expected across the Sierras, Rockies, and Cascades. Heavy rain will also be notable up and down the West Coast, particularly in California, where flooding concerns exist through Sunday.

What is an Atmospheric River?

An atmospheric river is a plume of moisture that streams in off the Pacific Ocean. Similar to a fire hose, it shoots moisture into one area for an extended period of time, resulting in very heavy rain or snow.

“As the system moves into the Plains early next week, a springlike storm system develops,” Chad Myers, CNN Meteorologist said. “Significant severe weather will occur in the warm air across the South and a major snow and ice event will happen in the western Great Lakes and northern Plains.”

For the northern region and Midwest, the threat of blizzard-like conditions is increasing more and more. Significant snowfall, strong winds, ice, and freezing rain are all possible early this week from Colorado through Wisconsin.

The Southern Region:

The threat of severe storms is also increasing across the southern Plains and Gulf Coast region. This includes the threat of tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds.

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