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State of emergency declared over huge Los Angeles County methane leak

Stae of emergency over gas leak in CaliforniaCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over a large Southern California gas leak in Los Angeles County, which has led to months of protests and the displacement of thousands of families.

Governor Brown made the declaration on Wednesday, which will make more resources available for dealing with the leak at Porter Ranch, which is within LA County.

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The strongest El Nino ever! Huge storm batters California

El nino in CaliforniaA huge El Nino storm battered California, with the West Coast bracing itself for heavy rain, snow, flash floods and possible mudslides as meteorologists say El Nino has tied 1997-1998 as the strongest ever recorded.

Mike Halpert, deputy director of the federal Climate Prediction Center, said initial figures for October-November-December match the same time period in 1997 for the strongest El Nino, with records going back to 1950.

Meteorologists measure El Nino based on how warm parts of the central Pacific for three consecutive months.

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Magnitude-4.2 earthquake hits north of Oklahoma City

4.2 earthquake OklahomaA magnitude-4.2 earthquake hit north of Oklahoma City early Friday, the latest in a series of quakes that have rattled the state at an increasing rate in the past few years.

There was no immediate word of injuries or damage after the quake hit around 5:40 a.m. Friday near Edmond, Okla. The quake was centered about 16 miles north of Oklahoma City.

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Biggest El Niño effects on US may be yet to come

El Nino effects worse in 2016The weather effects of El Niño, already blamed in large part for unusual winter floods, tornadoes and other extreme weather in the U.S., the U.K. and other countries during 2015, is far from over.

Scientists predict El Niño’s biggest effects will be felt in 2016.

“El Niño 2015 has already created weather chaos around the world,” NASA said in a Dec. 29 press release. Over the next few months, forecasters expect the United States to continue to feel its impacts, the release stated.

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Obama signs bill banning environment-threatening microbeads

Obama signs bill outlawing beadsPresident Barack Obama signed a bipartisan bill into law banning microbeads in order to protect the country's waterways.

The bill defines microbeads as any solid plastic particle less than 5 millimeters in diameter used for the purpose of exfoliating and cleansing. The beads became commonplace in hundreds of products, from toothpastes, shower gels and face creams -- offering an exfoliating sensation.

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Offshore oil worker killed, platforms evacuated in North Sea oilfield

oil worker killed, rigs evacuatedOne oil worker was killed and hundreds of others were evacuated from offshore drilling platforms as violent weather ripped across the North Sea.

The Norwegian-based Statoil and COSL -- China Oilfield Services Limited -- said two others were injured when a 60-foot wave broke over the COSL Innovator drilling rig, also causing damages across the rig. More than 100 workers were evacuated off the platform as Storm Frank tore through the area.

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Historic storm pushes North Pole temperatures 40F above average

North PoleA storm system has carried unusually warm air into the Arctic, raising temperatures near the North Pole in the last two days to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit above average.

Temperatures in the Arctic rose one to two degrees Celsius (or 1.8 -3.6 F) above freezing in recent days, a phenomenon that has only occurred a few times before, according to Bob Henson, a meteorologist at Weather Underground, a weather service.

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