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Last Updated: Wednesday December 17 2008 10:16 GMT

American ice storm moves west

Ice and snow on a road
Ice and snow closed many roads

Hundreds of people in America have been forced to leave their homes after a chilling ice storm hit some states.

The frozen weather which caused chaos in the eastern states over the weekend has moved to the west coast of America.

In California two people died in car accidents after a fierce storm swept in, dumping piles of snow up to a metre deep and bringing heavy rain.

In some states, snow ploughs have been working round the clock to try to clear the roads and keep them safe.

Snow plough
Snow plough clearing a road

Hundreds of homes in the western states were left without power and people were advised to stay indoors to avoid the blizzards.

Some flights had to be cancelled and lots of schools had to close because of the freezing temperature.

Collapsing trees

Ice storms happen when rain falls when it's very cold, freezing as soon as it hits a surface.

The ice can coat huge areas at a time and be so heavy that trees can collapse under its weight.

A mudslide near a home in California

People in California are now really worried the snow storms could trigger mudslides in some areas.

The state was recently hit by wild fires which destroyed lots of trees and plants, leaving lots of areas with bare mud.

If the snow loosens this ground it could cause dangerous land slides.