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'Atmospheric River' Pummels West Coast, Over 100,000 Without Power - Wind Gusts Over 100 MPH Recorded

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An unusual weather phenomenon took out the power of more than 100,000 residents of the West Coast on Tuesday.

A torrent of rainfall impacted California, Oregon and Washington, according to Fox News.

The inclement weather was caused by a low-pressure air system in the Pacific Northwest. Meteorologists call this weather tendency an “atmospheric river.”

Approximately 16,000 customers of one Oregon electrical utility company lost power as a result of the storm.

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Some of the winter rainfall broke local records.

The 2.12 inches of rainfall measured in Oakland, California, amounted to a new record for the city, according to Fox.

The same weather system materialized as snowstorms in parts of Northern and Central California, NPR reported.

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Heavy snow forced the closure of highways near California’s Lake Tahoe.

The U.S. Forest Service issued an avalanche warning in mountainous areas surrounding the lake, warning that “several feet of new snow and strong winds will result in dangerous avalanche conditions.”

The winds in the Sierra Nevada were measured at 120 mph.

The fast-moving storm system caused the deaths of five people, according to The New York Times.

The same cold front reached as far east as Arizona, with Phoenix experiencing a rainy day and snowstorms striking the northern part of the state, KPNX-TV reported.

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Some analysts are pointing to the rainy December as a positive development for the drought-stricken American Southwest.

Ongoing drought conditions have jeopardized the water security of states such as Arizona and California.

The erosion of the Colorado River water supply and increasingly dry weather has left some communities in the state scrambling to replace water resources as they become untenable.

One climate scientist pointed to the rain and snow in California as a boon for the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, according to The Guardian.

Forecasters indicate that California will experience unsettled weather in the week to come.

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