This Timelapse of the Recent West Coast Storms Is Jaw-Dropping

NOAA satellites circling around earth’s outermost atmosphere layers captured a stunning dance of the recent storm systems that flooded California.

To say we’ve had wet weather since December 26th would be like saying that polar bears are big animals — it downplays the sheer magnitude of what we have experienced this past month. (Polar bears are the largest land carnivores currently on earth… for a little bit of a metaphorical context.)

Reservoirs in many Bay Area counties have either filled to capacity, overflowed, or are inching closer to being at over 70% full. Both the Oakland International Airport and the San Francisco Internal Airport have each recorded their usual yearly rainfall levels… just a month into 2023. Mudslides and potholes and downed trees and highways-turned-rivers caused transportation woes and evacuation orders in various parts of California. Hundreds of thousands of PG&E account holders lost power at some point; a young boy was fatally struck by a falling tree after it came crashing down in the family’s Sonoma County home.


It’s hard to comprehend the sheer size of these storm systems that spun over the SF Bay Area with mere figures. A picture is worth a thousand words, yes — but a video is thousands of pictures and, by relationship, tens of hundreds of thousands of words. And there’s something about a timelapse video that cements that notion even deeper, particularly in regard to the recent storms that flood the west coast.

Using video procured by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Colorado State University’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) was able to compile media from NOAA into a stellar timelapse showing the “parade of West Coast storms” that we’ve seen over the past week or so. 

“The parade of West Coast storms over the last ten days,” reads a tweet from the research lab sharing the timelapse. From January 4th, you can see the initial, textbook-perfect bomb cyclone that first inundated the West Coast, causing widespread flooding and proving to be the first in what would become a series of torrential downpours. No less than four other storm systems followed suit after that initial high-wind storm, inundating the Golden State with huge amounts of much-needed water.

If you look closely enough toward the east of the video, you can see how California’s wave of storms affected states like Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, which caused those southern states to experience a sharp cooling; the lower-pressure zones also created a few rain storms to wet the areas, but by no means produced the severe weather events that produced dozens of tornadoes in the South last month.

Suffice it to say that we can’t remember the last time we’ve been so happy to see the sun. Now, we can check up on the storm drain we adopted earlier this month.

Feature image: Courtesy of NOAA

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