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Last round of stormy weather to hit California – California remained under threat of mudslides and blizzards Thursday from the last in a week-long series of storms that caused deadly accidents, churning seas and widespread flooding concerns. Heavy rain was forecast Thursday in the San Francisco Bay Area and the National Weather Service said blizzards and even avalanches were a possibility in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada, where winds could gust to 125 mph on ridgetops. Wednesday saw toppled trees, snarled roads and downed power lines all around Northern California, sometimes with deadly consequences. A homeless man who may have been trying to shelter under some trees near an Oakland freeway was killed when the tree toppled and he was crushed by a 30-foot-long (9-meter) branch, authorities said. "This is a life-threatening situation," the weather service warned. (Associated Press)
Government shutdown taking toll on wildfire preparations – Just two months after a wildfire wiped out Paradise, California, officials are gearing up for this year's fire season and fear the government shutdown could make it even more difficult than one of the worst in history. The winter months are critical for wildfire managers who use the break from the flames to prepare for the next onslaught, but much of that effort has ground to a halt on U.S. land because employees are furloughed. Firefighting training courses are being canceled from Tennessee to Oregon, piles of dead trees are untended in federal forests and controlled burns to thin dry vegetation aren't getting done. Although the furloughs only affect federal employees, the collaborative nature of wildland firefighting means the pain of the four-week-long shutdown is having a ripple effect. (Associated Press)
Retired Cleveland Elementary School teachers remember 30-year anniversary of mass shooting – Judy Weldon was a teacher at Cleveland Elementary School on January 17, 1989. That's the day when 24-year-old Patrick Purdy walked on the campus and began shooting. Five children were killed that day, and 32 others were wounded. Thursday marks 30 years since the massacre in Stockton, and Weldon has not forgotten a single moment. She didn't think another school shooting so similar could happen until Sandy Hook. That's when she and other retired Cleveland Elementary School teachers began advocating for change. "We want to have a sane society," Weldon said. "We want a healthy society. We don't want to go to the church or a movie theater in fear. It's almost gotten to that point." (Ananda Rochita, ABC10)
Goodbye, Gymboree... For the second time in as many years, the kids' clothing store is filing for bankruptcy. And this time around, the company is announcing it's also shuttering its doors for good. Yes, it's bad, but that also means closing deals on new clothes for your kids. So hurry before it's too late.
Speaking of the storm... It's signaling good news for farmers in San Joaquin County, which means it's signaling good news for you and the food you eat. The next thing thing the area needs? A strong snowpack and some water storage.