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What is an atmospheric river? With flooding and mudslides in California, a hydrologist explains the good and bad of these storms and how they’re changing

Millions of Californians were under flood alerts and warnings of excessive rainfall on Feb. 5, 2024, as a powerful atmospheric river sat over Southern California. Los Angeles saw one of its wettest days on record with over 4 inches of rain on Feb. 4, communities reported widespread flooding, and debris and mudslides shut down sections of highways and roads into Malibu.