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Drought-hit western US walloped by powerful winter storm

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Los Angeles (AFP) – A powerful winter storm battered the western United States Monday, dumping much-needed snow on the drought-parched mountains of California, but causing travel misery over a wide area. Three feet (one meter) of snow had fallen in 24 hours on parts of the Sierra Nevada range, taking December’s total to a record-breaking 16 feet, and bolstering the badly depleted snowpack that feeds the region’s reservoirs. “We were definitely not expecting a wet winter,” said Dr. Andrew Schwartz, lead scientist at the Central Sierra Nevada Snow Laboratory at UC Berkeley, California. “It just …

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