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Ranking atmospheric rivers like hurricanes can tell us what to prepare for

We didn't even use the term "atmospheric river" very much until a few years ago. Then the cooler months of the year began delivering the thin but intense streams of water from the sky on a more regular basis.

As we learn more about them, some more terms may come into use, like a rating scale for them, similar to the way hurricane winds are rated from 1 to 5. Such a scale has existed since 2019, also with a 1-to-5 intensity rating. And recent research shows the value in using such a scale, to know what kinds of impacts may be felt in the places where atmospheric rivers make land.

Bin Guan from UCLA and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory led the research team and visits with highlights.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily news program focused on issues, people and events across Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the program's senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.