‘Epic’ storm brings blizzards, floods, twister to mid

Frederick Owens
March 16, 2019

Although Colorado saw the bomb cyclone manifest itself in the form of snow, rain is the main culprit in Iowa and IL.

Blizzards in Colorado and Wyoming and winds of up to 97 miles per hour on Wednesday shut down highways, interstates and airports, and knocked out power to about 184,000 homes and businesses in the Denver area, according to a report from the Associated Press (AP).

Wednesday's explosive development of a late winter storm over eastern Colorado created rough times for people both on land and in the air. The weather service said flooding will likely continue on some rivers, including the Missouri River, into this weekend.

Though the storm was expected to carry less snowfall as it moves into the Midwest and the Great Lakes region, the National Weather Service and local officials warned of high winds and possible flash flooding from heavy rains.

"With the frozen ground and amount of rain our area had, it was just a ideal set of circumstances that led to the flooding we're seeing in Nebraska and Iowa", meteorologist Paul Fajman told the AP. The closure was reminiscent of historic flooding along the river in 2011 that saw segments of the interstate in western Iowa washed away. On Thursday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an emergency disaster proclamation and activated the state emergency operations center, and all or part of nine state parks were closed due to rising floodwaters.

Highways were also closed in the Nebraska Panhandle, South Dakota and near the Wyoming border on Thursday due to the storm.

The culprit was a sudden and severe drop in ground-level air pressure in Colorado, the most pronounced dive since 1950, Carbin said.

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"This is the worst flooding we've had since then", Darlington Police Chief Jason King said, according to the news station.

But in eastern Nebraska, flooding worsened Friday and remained a big concern in the lower Missouri River region - which is a major source for the Mississippi River - with the weather service issuing warnings of high water along the river and its tributaries from southeastern South Dakota to St. Louis in Missouri.

On Wednesday up to 1.2 meters of snow and 170-km-per-hour winds blasted Colorado, leaving thousands of motorists stranded and tens of thousands of people without power in Colorado and Texas. Denver Public Schools was one of many school districts that canceled school because of poor road conditions and power outages.

In Colorado, a state patrol officer was hit and killed by a auto as he was helping another driver who slid off Interstate 76 near Denver.

How do I get my stranded vehicle? It was caused by a combination of the jet stream and normal conditions in the wind shadow of the Rockies.

A bomb cyclone occurs when there is a rapid pressure drop, with a decrease of at least 24 millibars - a measure of atmospheric pressure - over 24 hours.

Air travel has also been severely affected by the bomb cyclone. There are no immediate reports of any injuries, but homes and trees were damaged and power was knocked out to thousands.

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