Californians Warned to Prepare for Another Atmospheric River

Image copyright: Washington Post/Getty Images [via CNN]

The Facts

  • On Wednesday, California officials warned more than 16M residents under flood watches to prepare for an onslaught of rain and snowmelt that could lead to substantial flooding beginning on Thursday.

  • This warning comes as back-to-back severe winter storms have slammed the state leaving residents and hikers stranded for extended periods without supplies. The National Weather Service said that the combined atmospheric river and winter storm system could lead to "high snow levels" with the most snow expected in central California.

The Spin

Narrative A

Climatologists have learned that California has a long history of flooding at the hands of these atmospheric rivers. Even with disaster after disaster, the state still has not invested in infrastructure to properly handle these gully washers. There have been many discussions and plans for a reservoir that would store floodwaters and deliver the water to those in need as the state also faces severe drought. Unfortunately, nothing has come to fruition. How hard is it, after decades of inaction, to arrive at and implement a long-term solution?

Narrative B

Governor Gavin Newsom has been and continues to be a champion for climate change adaptation in California. In addition to preparing for impacts, he has rocketed the state to being the nation's leader championing climate actions aimed at reducing emissions. Newsom was willing to take on the Trump administration to do what was just and best for the planet. In doing so, he has shined a light on himself to even eye the presidency one day — and California's bold climate policies are a major reason.

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