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Weekly Wrap-Up: April Snow Falls in East Following Severe Storms; Calbuco Volcano Erupts After 42 Years

Powerful thunderstorms slammed the East, including areas from Pennsylvania to South Carolina and Florida, early this week. Meanwhile, thunderstorms continued to bring large hail, flooding downpours, damaging winds and a few isolated tornadoes to the southern Plains.

Tornado watches were issued in parts of Pennsylvania Monday as severe storms hammered the state with gusty winds, heavy rain and hail. An EF0 tornado with estimated wind speeds of 65 mph was confirmed near Coyler Lake in Centre County of Pennsylvania.

Following the storms, record cold moved into the Great Lakes and eastern U.S., bringing snow to some of the northern areas. Areas around the eastern Great Lakes and from Pittsburgh to Buffalo, New York, got some wet snow.

Ahead of the leading edge of chilly air, severe storms were triggered along the I-95 corridor on Wednesday evening. A 71-mph thunderstorm wind gust was recorded in Philadelphia.

While storms drenched the eastern U.S., the dry and gusty conditions in California led to a wildfire that forced evacuations near Los Angeles.

The blaze was caused by an unattended cooking fire, Cal Fire said Sunday. As of Thursday, the fire had scorched over 1,000 acres and was 96 percent contained.

"The excessive drought across California can cause fires to spark even easier because the ground is so dry and lacks moisture," Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said. Most of California is missing between one and two years' worth of rainfall as a result of the drought, the National Weather Service said.

In Australia, a slow-moving storm in the Tasman Sea brought strong winds, rain and pounding surf to the eastern Australia coast earlier this week.

The heavy rain inundated areas around Sydney. By Tuesday, Sydney Observatory Hill had a reported a storm rainfall total of 8 inches and climbing.

Three people were found dead as flooding raged across the region, according to the Associated Press. Locations from Ulladulla northward to Newcastle and Maitland received flooding rainfall. Rainfall totals in Sydney's Olympic Park reached a whopping 290 mm (11.4 inches). Even more impressive is the suburb of Maitland, which accumulated an astounding 452 mm (17.8 inches) from April 20 through April 22.

Rainfall totals surpassed 380 mm (15 inches) in areas to the north of Sydney including Maitland and Paterson, stalling travel in some places.

On Wednesday, the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile erupted, forcing authorities to order the evacuation of thousands of people in the area.

Authorities issued a red alert and evacuated more than 4,000 people from a 20-km (12-mile) radius, the BBC continued. That included residents from the nearby town of Ensenada and two other smaller communities.

The volcanic ash dropped visibility down to 500 meters (0.31 of a mile) at San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, Thursday afternoon.