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California Storms

UPROOTED This tree in Sacramento, California, was ripped up by a storm on January 5. SAM STANTON—SACRAMENTO BEE/AP

On January 9, the National Weather Service (NWS) warned people in California of another wave of powerful storms. For weeks, parts of the state had been battered by severe wind, heavy rain, and snow. At least 17 people have died. Hundreds of thousands lost electricity.

The latest storms were expected to bring six to 12 inches of rain to northern and central parts of the state. This could cause “rapid water rises, mudslides, and the potential for major river flooding,” the NWS said.

The extreme weather in California is the result of atmospheric rivers—long bands of moisture—that stretch over the Pacific Ocean. These have brought one storm after another, just days apart.

In past weeks, ferocious ocean waves destroyed homes and businesses, and washed away beaches in seaside communities near Santa Cruz. In Sacramento, 60-mile-per-hour winds downed power lines and ripped trees out of the ground. Officials were watching several more storms farther out on the Pacific.

“They were scary winds,” says Joey Kleemann, who watched water stream into her house in Sacramento after a tree crushed the roof. “Mostly I focused on: ‘It could be so much worse.’”

Stop and Think! Who is quoted in the article? How are these sources different from one another? How do they help you understand the storms?