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Unprecedented snowfall on US west coast is ‘once-in-a-generation’ event

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The west coast of the US, from Oregon to the mountains of California and the golf courses of Phoenix, has received nearly unprecedented levels of snowfall this week in what officials are calling a “once-in-a-generation” event.

The mountainous regions of California have received so much snowfall – more than 40ft of snow since the start of the season – that entire towns have shut down as they are virtually cut off from the rest of the state. The governor has declared a state of emergency in 13 counties due to the unusual snowfall.

Portland, Oregon’s largest city, saw its second snowiest day in history with almost a foot of snow, while further south in Arizona the suburbs of Phoenix received a dusting of snow.

“This rain and snow bucked the trend, and it’s highly unexpected,” said Ryan Maue, a meteorologist and former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief scientist. “It’s like once in a generation.”

The effects of the storms can be seen across the region. In California, the extreme weather has left thousands without power, closed Yosemite and Joshua…

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