Watch the "Pineapple Express" make its way from Hawaii to the West Coast.

Last week, California saw something it hasn't seen for a shockingly long time: rain. And snow. The precipitation was not enough to end the drought that has, for the past three years, turned the Golden State into a toasty shade of brown ... but it was something.

The injection of moisture came courtesy of the "Pineapple Express," a jet of moist air flowing to California from Hawaii. Such an atmospheric river sent from the tropics is not always something to be celebrated: The system tends to bring heavy rainfall and fierce winds. And this particular Pineapple Express, true to form, brought flooding and wind damage along with it. But it also brought moisture! Some 4 to 8 inches of it! Which, given a drought that some are saying could be California's worst in 500 years, is something.

In the animation above, which accounts for data captured between February 7 and February 9, 2014, you can watch the Pineapple Express come into contact with California. The video features a compilation of visible and infrared images taken from NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental satellite. It presents a sweeping view of the little present Hawaii gave to California last week—a brief "reprieve" from the ongoing dryness. Here's to more such tropical gifts. As Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, told PhysOrg: "Our drought recovery in the West depends on the Pineapple connection."

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A Fifties-style diner with blue booths and chairs and pink walls.
    Design

    Why a ‘Memory Town’ Is Coming to Your Local Strip Mall

    Weeks after opening near San Diego, a model town for treating dementia is set to be replicated around the U.S.

  2. A large adventure playground with towers and slides.
    Design

    A Short Guide to Tulsa’s New $465 Million Park

    If Volcanoville and Charlie’s Water Mountain aren’t enough for you, what about a boating pond and a skate park?

  3. Design

    Debunking the Cul-de-Sac

    The design of America's suburbs has actually made our streets more dangerous

  4. Passengers wait in a German subway station
    Transportation

    The Global Mass Transit Revolution

    A new report confirms that the U.S. lags behind the rest of the world in mass transit.

  5. A row of homes under the Montreal sun.
    Perspective

    Why Is the Homebuilding Industry Stuck in the 1940s?

    Embrace pre-fabricated, adaptable homes! Growing inequity, out-of-reach housing prices, and the speed of innovation in energy efficiency and technology demand it.