Below are a number of links relating to Atmospheric Rivers (ARs). These relatively narrow (~240 miles) slow moving bands of subtropical moisture account for between 30% and 50% of the rainfall occuring along the West Coast. Many of Washington, Oregon and California's historic flooding events have been related to ARs. They are also colloquially known as the "Pineapple Express" because some of their moisture originates from the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.
Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services