Ask Storm Team 11: What is precipitable water?


<Wednesday’s Ask Storm Team 11 question was: “What is precipitable water?”

Precipitable water refers to the amount of water in a column of air if it were all squeezed out as rain. It tells us how much moisture is in the atmosphere.

If you have less than 0.5 inches, there’s very low atmospheric moisture. More than 2 inches is very high and the atmosphere is extremely saturated.

Most of the precipitable water is in the lowest 2 miles of the atmosphere.

While you can measure it, it doesn’t say how much rain we’ll get. You can actually get more rain than what the precipitable water reads.

The higher values do indicate a possible flood risk and perhaps even severe weather if the other ingredients are in place.

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