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South faces flooding...Blizzard expected in parts of Texas and Oklahoma... Stretch of CA highway closed by fire

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Residents in northern Alabama are being warned to be prepared for possible flooding today. It's all part of the severe weather pattern across the South that's left at least 17 people dead and dozens of families homeless. Mississippi accounts for 10 of the dead.

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — The Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles are bracing for what National Weather Service forecasters are calling a "historic blizzard." A blizzard warning goes into effect shortly. Between 6 to 15 inches of snow are in the forecast for the region, which includes Amarillo and Lubbock.

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — A wind-whipped brush fire is keeping a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway closed and forcing the evacuation of dozens of homes northwest of Los Angeles. The Ventura County Fire Department says the brush fire that started northwest of the city of Ventura has spread to 1,200 acres. Winds have reached 50 mph in the dry area.

BEIRUT (AP) — A U.S.-backed coalition of rebels in Syria is now in control of a major dam on the Euphrates River in the north. The coalition, known as Syria Democratic Forces, seized the Tishrin Dam on Saturday as part of its offensive aimed at cutting supply lines between Islamic State group strongholds in northern Syria. The dam supplies much off northern Syria with electricity.

BERLIN (AP) — Police in Vienna say they've stepped up security precautions after a warning to several European capitals about the possibility of an attack using explosives or firearms between Christmas and New Year. But they say they see no need to call off any events. Vienna police say the tip from an unidentified "friendly" intelligence service came in the days before Christmas.

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