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Data: NOAA; Map: Will Chase/Axios

The extreme atmospheric river pummeling parts of Northern California — attached to a record strong bomb cyclone, no less — may be a poor indicator of how this winter will treat the West.

Why it matters: With much of the West locked in the first climate change-related megadrought, with an especially pronounced dry period since 2020, hopes are pinned on the rain and mountain snow that could fall during the wet season.

What's next: A second consecutive year of La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific is in store, and it favors a drier-than-average winter for much of the Southwest, NOAA warned last week.

  • As if to foreshadow this pattern, the ongoing atmospheric river event is delivering far less rain to Los Angeles and San Diego compared to San Francisco.
  • The La Niña influence on the winter outlook also holds true across parts of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Yes, but: Though La Niña events tend to be correlated with dry winters in these areas, every La Niña event is unique.

Go deeper ... In photos: Drought-ravaged California lashed by major storm

Go deeper

In photos: 2021's devastating climate disasters

Firefighters work on a wildfire in the Sequoia National Forest near Johnsondale, Calif., in September 2021. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Climate disasters in 2021 affected millions of lives, caused billions of dollars in economic loss across the world and brought into stark reality the perils of higher temperatures and climate change in general.

The big picture: Early data has ranked 2021 as the sixth warmest year on record. Climatologists have warned that increased surface temperatures make floods, droughts, heat and cold waves, wildfires and tropical storms and hurricanes more common and intense.

Chance of wintry mix this weekend in Atlanta

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Hey, Kristal here!

The predictions are all over the place, but one thing is clear about the weather system moving into north Georgia late tomorrow evening: Some areas should get some winter precipitation.

Why it matters: Any mention of winter weather moving into Atlanta leads to y’all panic-buying bread and milk (please don't do that). If snow or ice sticks, everything shuts down and our attempts at driving become viral gold on social media.

Momentum builds to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some progressive Democrats and MAGA Republicans are uniting on a proposal to ban sitting lawmakers from trading individual stocks, although it's unlikely that leadership will bring the bill up for a vote.

Why it matters: Members of Congress have great power to move stock prices, and great financial incentives to do so.