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As an atmospheric river strikes California, San Francisco witnesses an unprecedented downpour.

A powerful atmospheric river drenched northern and central California on New Year’s Eve. The storm system triggered widespread flooding that inundated roads, forced high-water rescues and disrupted travel. San Francisco recorded its second wettest day in over 170 years of records. Flood warnings were also issued around Sacramento, where up to 3 inches of rain fell. The storminess is due to a parade of atmospheric rivers, or conveyor belt-like corridors of tropical moisture with origins as far away as Hawaii. Saturday’s setup was a bit different — what began as an atmospheric river transitioned into more of a classic soaking rain event.