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Last updated at 11:20 GMT, Thursday, 20 February 2014

Drought and snow: Extreme US weather

Summary

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.

Reporter:

Beth McLeod

A traffic jam

The USA has been suffering from extreme weather conditions

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Report

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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Vocabulary

icy trail

path or route which is covered with ice and snow

in its wake

left behind after something has passed through

milder

(here) weather that is warmer than is normal at a particular time of year

slick

smooth, shiny or slippery

pileup

traffic accident where several vehicles crash into each other

midst

middle

drought

long period of dry weather with no rain

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