There's a Giant Atmospheric River Storm Pummeling California...So of course I'm Headed to Death Valley to Experience it...
So we here in California are experiencing one of those very intense atmospheric river storms generated when a highly active jet stream dips far to the south and starts to draw up very moist tropical air from the Pacific Ocean. The storms pound the state like a fire hose, dipping to the north and then to the south, and back again. In once sense, such storms are a godsend because they provide the bulk of our water resources.
On the other hand, the timing is...great. We can't reschedule our president's holiday weekend field studies class, so we are headed out to experience the storm firsthand, out in the elements, facing down our fears and all that other character-building stuff. We are headed to Death Valley National Park. Our best hopes lie with the Sierra Nevada's rain-shadow effect on the nation's driest valley.
It's not the first time this has happened of course. In thirty years of field studies trips we've encountered fierce storms a number of times, and it's always...memorable. Such trips give us the best memories and the best stories to tell our children and grandchildren. And all kidding aside, it's awesome to see intense weather events take place in the desert environment.
So it's probably radio silence for the next few days unless you want to follow our travels on Twitter (@geotripper). If I get a phone signal, I will try to post a few pictures. In the meantime, stay dry!