The worst winter storm in decades has thrown northern Europeinto chaos and caused at least 14 deaths, while a fierce"Pineapple Express" has brought record rain and snowfall half a world away toCalifornia, and caused at least 7 deaths.
Parts of the Sierra Nevada, an area noted for intensesnowfalls, have not seen such snow in 90 years, and the next24 hours promises to add another 3 feet to the twenty feetthat have always fallen over the past week in higher elevations.
Seven people have been killed in southern California, houseshave collapsed into canyons throughout the area, and majorroadways have been closed by landslides and snows. Amtrak'sCalifornia Zephyr was stranded overnight in the notoriousDonner Pass. The train had to back up to Sacramento.
Referring to snow accumulation in Reno, National WeatherService officials said that the records being broken nowhave stood since 1916.
At the same time, hurricane force winds and torrential rainsthrew northern Europe into chaos and were responsible for atleast 14 deaths. In Sweden, two nuclear reactors had to beshut down because of wind danger, and half a million homeswere left without power. In Carlisle in the UK, 70,000people had to be relocated to shelters because of powerfailures and flooding.
Latvia declared a power emergency as more than half thepopulation of 2.4 million were left without power due todowned power lines. In St. Petersburg in Russia, metrostations were flooded and at one point the waters of theNeva threatened to flood the historic city.
The situation in many parts of both stricken regions half aworld apart was chaotic, and damage and death tolls have yetto be finally calculated. The European storm weakened as itcrossed Russia. In California, another torrential downpourwas expected on Tuesday before clearing on Wednesday.
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