17 February 2014
It has been a week of extreme weather in the United States. The East Coast was hit by a huge snowstorm which affected 100 million Americans in more than 20 states. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, California continues to experience its worst drought in living memory.
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After burying the American East Coast in snow all the way from Georgia up to Maine, the storm has moved north to Canada. It has left an icy trail of destruction in its wake; hundreds of thousands of homes are still without power, mostly in southern states like the Carolinas, which are used to milder winter weather.
The extreme conditions are being blamed for at least 25 deaths, mostly in traffic accidents on roads that are slick with ice. Thirty people were injured in a multi-car pileup in Pennsylvania and more than 14,000 flights have been cancelled this week so far.
President Obama has left the snow in Washington for the West Coast, where he has been talking about a very different type of extreme weather; California is in the midst of its worst drought in a hundred years. He promised federal money to help deal with what he called a "very challenging situation".
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- icy trail
path or route which is covered with ice and snow
- in its wake
left behind after something has passed through
(here) weather that is warmer than is normal at a particular time of year
smooth, shiny or slippery
traffic accident where several vehicles crash into each other
long period of dry weather with no rain