Massive 'Bomb Cyclone' Bears Down on Continental US — Hurricane Blizzard

Ice blocks brought by flood waters lie on the road in Howard County Nebraska

"Bomb cyclone" headed our way, and here's what it means

It combines the force and wrath of the worst weather conditions, such as thunderstorms, severe blizzards, gusty winds, and flash floods. Residents were being urged to stay off the roads during the duration of the storm, CBS Denver reported.

A late-winter blizzard pounded the USA central Plains states on Wednesday (March 13), bringing high winds and as much as two feet of snow, disrupting air and road travel, as well as causing widespread power outages amid frigid temperatures.

The winter storm has been linked to at least one death. The situation turned deadly when Colorado State Patrol Cpl. Daniel Groves, age 52. As of late Wednesday night, "we still had 1,100 people stranded who had been there anywhere from an hour to seven hours", Kirby said.

As the storm headed north into Canada, snow will keep falling over the Dakotas and western Minnesota, with some areas seeing as much as a foot of the white stuff.

"All state offices will be closed today", South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced, citing forecasters' warnings of intense winds. The Red Cross opened shelters in Sioux Falls and Yankton. High speed in poor driving conditions is the likely cause of the accidents, according to local police.

"Interstate 90 in western South Dakota is closed for more than 200 miles", South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Gary Ellenbolt reports for NPR from the city of Aberdeen.

Flooding and more blizzards spread through much of Nebraska, Iowa and many other states, prompting evacuations of thousands of people and causing untold damage to road systems and property throughout the Plains and Midwest regions.

"Blame climate change for the 'bomb cyclone, '" said Sonia Aggarwal, vice president of Energy Innovation, a Los Angeles-based energy policy think tank.

The storm's center was over Iowa and Nebraska on Thursday and will continue delivering risky weather conditions to 105 million people who are under some sort of watch, warning or advisory as it moves east and then north into Canada.

A general view of the blizzard in Greeley Colorado

When the barometric pressure falls 24 millibar in 24 hours, then it occurs.

In 48 hours, the freak storm, called a "bomb cyclone", has affected some 100 million Americans, the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) estimated Friday.

In the Texas Panhandle, a utility worker was killed while working to restore power amid strong winds pushed in by the storm.

Although the term "bomb cyclone" dates back to the year of 1980, it has only been used recently by meteorologists.

Areas to the east and south of the bomb cyclone are also facing challenging weather Thursday - with the official start of spring less than a week away.

A powerful, late-winter "bomb cyclone" storm pushed into the US Midwest and the Great Lakes region on Friday, causing flooding along the MS and Missouri rivers, stranding herds of cattle and raising alarms at a Nebraska nuclear power plant.

Flooding remained a 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. As member station KPBS reports, "California is free of drought and only a small amount of territory remains in the lesser condition of abnormal dryness after a very wet winter".

Anyone seeking good weather news might want to look toward California, which has finally gotten some good news after enduring tragic weather and climate events, from fires to flooding.

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