Atmospheric Rivers in California Drench the State
Earlier this month, a phenomenon known as “atmospheric rivers” dumped enormous quantities of water from the Pacific Ocean on the state of California. The heavy rain and snow have caused rivers to swell, flooded vineyards and farms, and heightened the risk of mudslides on hills. Large amounts of water like this also pose a risk to your foundation, soaking and weakening the concrete or causing the soil under your home to wash away or to swell as it soaks in water. These occurrences can cause problems like foundation shifting and cracks when the water washes away soil or causes high amounts of pressure on your foundation.
What are atmospheric rivers?
These weather phenomena are long, narrow bands of water vapor that are formed over the ocean. After formation, the atmospheric rivers flow through the sky. When theses sky rivers move over mountain ranges, the vapor cools and turns into heavy precipitation – snow at higher elevations and rain at lower ones.
This is precisely what happened with the latest atmospheric river that hit Northern and California this month and then traveled south along the coast.
Flooding and Other Issues Caused by the Atmospheric River in California
One of the immediate problems caused by the atmospheric rivers weather is flooding and foundation water damage. Heavy amounts of rain can seep through any cracks that may have formed as a result of the recent drought conditions in California. This water can cause water damage as well as mold growth in your home. Even if flooding did not occur in your home, the excess water could have damaged your foundation. If water pools near your foundation, it can seep into the concrete and weaken it. This leads to foundation crumbling and flaking, problems that can result in foundation cracks and leakage as well as lack of stability in the foundation. However, these are not the only problems that the atmospheric rivers caused.
While this weather may have appeared to help with the drought conditions still present throughout much of the state, the opposite could be true. Heavy rains like the ones caused by atmospheric rivers have decreased the Sierra snowpack. The runoff produced by these warm rains increases the amount of water running through river systems in the present but have ultimately reduced California’s major water supply: the snowpack.
Because of all of these factors, it will continue to be important for you to monitor your home for signs of foundation damage. Drought, which is still a reality in much of California, can cause serious foundation problems. Foundation problems may have also occurred directly as a result of the atmospheric rivers. Some homes and businesses in California likely saw significant water damage or leakage from the latest bout of rain and storms brought on by these atmospheric rivers. Foundation damage such as shifting due to erosion and cracking due to increased hydrostatic pressure may have also occurred.
Examine your home and ensure that your foundation is stable and level, crack-free and properly waterproofed to reduce the chances of foundation repair in all of these different kinds of weather. Bay Area Underpinning can help with all of your foundation repair and slab repair needs. Call us now to learn more about our foundation repair services.