Wicked Weather


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Southern California's most devastating rainfall since records have been kept has resulted in deadly mudslides that have swallowed subdivisions, and the floods are catching motorists and even rescue workers by surprise.

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California's storms are moving inland and flooding and corrosion are now washing away houses in southern Utah.

Some experts believe this all may be part of nature's cycle.

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"Mother Nature kind of has a way of balancing out the sort of checkbook, so to say. You know, in the past, for how many years, it's been so dry out there, so long, and it kind of seems like nature kind of does its thing. And unfortunately, too much too fast, but kind of balances back out," says Sandi Duncan from the Farmer's Almanac.

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But on the East Coast, people are acting like it's springtime -- and it almost is. Temperatures in New York and Washington, D.C., are expected to reach well into the 60s Thursday. And its only mid-January.

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It prompted CNN to ask meteorologists and climate experts, "What's going on with the world's weather?"

Why would brushfires make one area of southern Australia look like another planet?

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Why are people in northern Europe -- from Ireland through the Baltics -- picking up from their most violent storms in years, with hurricane-force winds and rain that have killed at least 8 people?

Some experts say take a deep breath -- the world's not falling apart.

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"All of this is business as usual. These are serious weather events, but they're not unprecedented. They've happened before, and they'll happen again," says Bob Livezey, the chief of Climate Services at the National Weather Service.

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Experts CNN spoke to say there is no connection between the Indian Ocean tsunamis and the deluge in California. They say global warming is not to be blamed for these events.

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The only connection in all of this, they say is jet streams -- systems of strong winds in the upper atmosphere that push extreme weather in certain directions.

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"What's causing it is a shift in the jet stream that extends all the way from the north Pacific to the eastern part of the United States," says Livezey.

The National Weather Service says the same jet stream that pushed rain into Southern California split and pushed warmer weather into the East and extreme weather into northern Europe.