From the Department of Water Resources California is no stranger to devastating floods. With the most variable weather conditions in the country, the state receives between 40 and 60 percent of its precipitation from atmospheric rivers, a stream of water vapor created in the atmosphere by circulating air currents over the waters of the Pacific Ocean. As the calendar turned from 1996 to 1997, these storms walloped California, leading to deadly flooding and billions of dollars in economic damage. (more)