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'Atmospheric Rivers' To Continue Bringing Biblical Rain Through The Week

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(Photo by Robbie via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Is California's terrifyingly persistent drought over? No, but, as far as any of us can remember, this is the rainiest winter in years.

The Golden State Weather Service has created a series of graphs showing how far above seasonally normal precipitation levels each part of the state is. Los Angeles? We're standing at a happy 125 percent of normal, thank you very much. Up north, the Fresno region is at 164 percent of normal, meaning Yosemite Falls is looking particularly healthy and beautiful right now.

This welcomed downpour is due to a weather phenomenon known as an "atmospheric river" . These rivers of moisture (averaging 300 miles wide) form over the Pacific ocean near Hawaii, and flow into the West Coast dropping 30 to 50 percent of our annual precipitation.

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According to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, over half an inch of rain has fallen on USC in the past 24 hours from this atmospheric river. In Rolling Hills, 1.17 inches fell.

The (relative) torrent unleashed its anticipated chaos on Angelenos. A rock slide in Malibu damaged cars along Las Virgines and Piuma roads, notes City News Wire. A rock slide was also reported along the Angeles Crest Road. There are too many street floodings to count. And a man went missing near the Dominguez channel in Gardena this morning. Fire and rescue crew searched the riverbed for a few hours, then reclassified the case to missing persons.

Even celebrities were not safe from the rain at last night's Golden Globe Awards.

Robbie Munroe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told LAist that the heaviest part of Monday's storm system has passed. What rain remains, if any, will be light, and should disappear by afternoon.

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A new system should be rolling into the area by Tuesday, bringing an estimated additional half-inch of rain, and temperatures two-to-three degrees cooler.

A third system is expected to hit the Southland Thursday. Precipitation levels should be under half-an-inch, but expect temperatures to drop to the mid-50s. The late-week temperature drop means the snowline may dip low enough to close the Grapevine and other passes, Munroe added.

If you haven't gotten around to buying an umbrella, yet, now would be the time.