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Major multi-day storm headed toward Northern California, promising much-needed rain

A major storm is headed toward Northern California, promising to drop up to 10 feet (3 meters) of snow on Sierra Nevada mountain peaks and bring much-needed rain throughout the region.

Rain was expected in the Bay Area, with snowfall in the Sierras starting Sunday before getting heavier between Monday and Tuesday, according to forecasters. There could even be a dusting of snow on Bay Area mountaintops.

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“If you live in the Sierra, today is the final day to prepare for a multi-day winter storm that will likely be remembered for years to come,” the National Weather Service warned in a forecast issued on Saturday.

Another storm system predicted to hit California midweek could deliver almost continuous snow, said Scott McGuire, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Reno office, which monitors an area straddling the Nevada state line. Downed trees and white-out conditions could endanger motorists; meanwhile the Sierra Avalanche Center warned heavy snow and strong winds on top of a weak snowpack could cause large and destructive avalanches.

“If you are traveling through the Sierra, either get ahead of the storm before snowfall begins or wait until it’s over to get up there. It will be increasingly treacherous,” he said.

A low-pressure system from the Pacific Northwest was on track to hit coastal areas north of San Francisco Saturday night and drop light rain.
In the Pacific Northwest, a winter storm warning was in place in an area including the ski resort where an avalanche Saturday killed a 60-year-old man and temporarily buried five others.

The heaviest rainfall near San Francisco was expected to come Sunday night into Monday morning as the storm spreads to the east and south, said Sarah McCorkle, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Bay Area office.

Rainfall totals across the north could range between 2-6 inches (5-15 centimeters), and the greatest amount was expected in the Santa Cruz and Santa Lucia mountain ranges, where winds could exceed 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour). The rain could cause minor flooding and rockslides, particularly in areas where wildfires have burned recently, according to the forecast.

Pacific Gas & Electric said the storm may cause power outages in the Bay Area. The utility said in a news release that its workers were clearing vegetation away from power lines to reduce the chance of outages.

The amount of rain is typical for this time of year, McCorkle said, even though the last couple of years have been unusually dry. The storm should help relieve dry conditions, but won’t mark an end to the drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The megadrought fueled by climate change has enveloped much of the West. As California heads into what traditionally is its wettest time of the year, 80 percent of the state is classified as in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories.

Read more: US tornado outbreak likely ‘one of the largest’ in history: Biden

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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

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The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

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A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

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Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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