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Learning More About Storms – By Flying Into Them

A view out the window of the NOAA research plane, with the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in the distance. The plane is gaining altitude to fly into the storm cloud. (Danielle Venton/KQED)
A view out the window of the NOAA research plane, with the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in the distance. The plane is gaining altitude to fly into the storm cloud. (Danielle Venton/KQED)

State officials in Oregon say landslides and high water have closed parts of many state highways. That’s after being hammered by a heavy rain storm – the kind scientists call an “atmospheric river.” In most years, West Coast states count on four to six of these super-soakers for as much as half of their annual precipitation.

Scientists have a lot to learn about these storms, including how they form and what makes them so strong. The best way to study the storms is by flying into them head-on. Danielle Venton from Here & Now contributor KQED climbed aboard one of the research planes and brought back this report.

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