'Bomb cyclone' pushes east across the U.S., flood risks remain

Lamar Ellis
March 16, 2019

From the Colorado Rockies to the Northeast, heavy snow, wind and flooding rains are affecting 70 million Americans, leaving many without power and others stranded on roads and at airports.

The storm left quickly rising floods in its wake in parts of eastern Nebraska and Iowa that saw residents evacuated from their homes, roads washed out in communities, and farmers anxious all the water would drown livestock.

The National Weather Service predicts that the storm will continue to move into Minnesota and IL, and that flooding will continue in Nebraska, Iowa and the surrounding states. The storm brought winds beyond 90 miles per hour and stranded more than 1,100 motorists in blizzard conditions on Colorado highways on Wednesday.

Heavy rain caused flooding in eastern parts of South Dakota and Nebraska, as well as in Iowa, where all or part of nine state parks were closed due to rising flood waters.

The storm also caused flash flooding across the Plains and Midwest states, the NWS reported.

In Iowa, a disaster proclamation by Governor Kim Reynolds, issued after reports of flooding on Thursday, remained in effect.

The window-rattling storm brought blizzards, floods and a tornado across more than 25 states Wednesday, stretching from the northern Rocky Mountains to Texas and beyond.

Parts of seven states were under blizzard warnings, and 20 states were under some level of high wind alert, Carbin said.

Weather service meteorologist Peter Rogers says flooding is likely to persist into the weekend.

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Winter Storm Ulmer is still hammering the Plains with snow, high winds and blizzard conditions on Thursday after killing at least two as the storm became a bomb cyclone.

The storm gained "bomb cyclogenesis" or "bombogenesis" status earlier in the week after its air pressure dropped precipitously within 24 hours, causing wind gusts of almost 100 mph while simultaneously dropping several inches of snow and rain. Residents of communities that had to evacuate because of flooding will be cleaning up the damage for some time.

A storm like this brings with it all sorts of hazardous weather.

Approximately 175,000 people have been left without power as the storm barrels through.

As authorities scrambled to rescue drivers, Colorado State Patrol Corporal Daniel Groves was killed after being struck by a vehicle while helping a stranded driver.

The Colorado National Guard announced it had rescued 93 people and two dogs after inspecting about 250 vehicles.

This weather phenomenon is being labeled a "bomb cyclone" by meteorologists and this happens when the atmosphere is experiencing bombogenesis.

Tornado watches were issued in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Several barns were destroyed and mobile homes were damaged in Daviess County, Kentucky, but no injuries were reported, emergency management officials said. 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.

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