"Bomb Hurricane" heads up Midwest after blasting Colorado and Plains


On Wednesday, from Palmer's Plains division, an unusually powerful "cyclone bomb" caused 100-mph wind gusts and conditions equivalent to those of a hurricane, with the exception of blinding snow in many places.

According to the National Meteorological Service, the cyclone of "historical proportions" continues in the Upper Midwest. Blizzard conditions, which Wednesday blocked more than 1,000 motorists in Colorado and blocked the Denver International Airport, continue to plaster parts of the Dakotas and northwestern Minnesota.

A severe storm threat is spreading along the southern and eastern flanks of the cyclone, from northern Mississippi and Alabama to southern Michigan. "Strong winds and some tornadoes will be possible with heavy hail," said the Meteorological Service.

"Major damage" has been reported of a tornado near Paducah, Kentucky, Thursday morning. The twister narrowly missed the Paducah Weather Office, forcing meteorologists to shelter while the Louisville Service Office briefly oversaw operations.

In the transition zone between warm and cold areas of the storm, the combination of torrential rain and snowmelt raises concerns about flooding in eastern Nebraska and Minnesota, southeastern South Dakota , Iowa, Wisconsin and northern Michigan. Ice jams are a major concern along the rivers of this region.

On Friday, the effects of the storm on the Lower 48 are expected to ease as it rises in northeastern Canada. Mainly rain showers are forecast as the cold front of the storm moves towards the east coast.

But the storm will leave a remarkable legacy and, in some areas, destructive and expensive.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the storm came in phases, rising from a violent storm on its southern flank to a real snowstorm on its north and west sides. In the middle, heavy rains on snowfall and frozen rivers caused flooding.

Strong winds blew over a huge area, exceeding 100 mph in a few places.

The storm began with a broken line of violent thunderstorms that swept eastern New Mexico and eastern Texas late Tuesday night and early Wednesday. Three tornadoes landed, including an EF-2 near Dexter, New Brunswick. The National Weather Service in Albuquerque called the tornado – which remained on the ground for 15 kilometers – the "oldest known or most powerful tornado of the state". Waist pummeled Ward County, Tex.

Storms and individual groups merged to form a fiery squall line that left wind damage over a distance of 500 miles to Dallas to the east. A gust of 78 mph was measured at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, while gusts at nearby Texas weather stations at Grand Prairie and Granbury reached 80 mph. A logistics service at the airport was partially cleared, with debris landing and damaging several vehicles, according to the weather service, while the roof of an Amazon warehouse had been unstuck.

Barometric pressures continued to decline as the storm system "deepened" rapidly Tuesday night. Temperatures in Denver dropped from 62 degrees Tuesday to 26 degrees Wednesday at noon, with light rains turning into thick, wet snow. The cement-like paste quickly made the roads impassable.

Despite the weather service's arguments that motorists "could be stranded" if they ventured out, more than 1,000 were trapped by conditions, according to CNN. Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) activated the National Guard, which saved more than three dozen people stranded in treacherous conditions.

"We have to go. . . back to find something that matches the wind aspect of this event, "said Greg Hanson, meteorologist for warning coordination at the National Weather Service in Denver. "It's Colorado. We can handle the snow. But the wind was extremely powerful. "

The heaviest snow fell in the mountains, with the Wolf Creek Pass passing along Highway 160 reporting 45 inches. Fourteen inches stacked at Cheyenne, Wyo., its fourth heaviest snowfall ever recorded.

Officially, Denver International Airport recovered only 7.1 inches of snow, but wind tunnels and drift contributed to the disaster on highways Wednesday afternoon.

"A group of volunteers spent all night rescuing stranded motorists," said Hanson. "Nobody really stopped."

The winds gusted at 80 mph at the airport, while visibility fell to 0.13 miles shortly before 2 pm. Wednesday. The airport reported that gusts of wind reached 57 mph for six consecutive hours.

"It's only the fourth time I remember that the Denver Airport has closed the four tracks," Hanson said.

Centennial Airport, located nearby, experienced strong winds with stormy gusts of wind and ice fog around noon.

Seventy kilometers to the south, the Colorado Springs airport recorded gusts of up to 97 mph in blinding bleaching conditions.

Power outages have also been a problem, said Hanson. At the height of the storm, Xcel Energy reported In Colorado, more than 400,000 customers were without electricity.

"It was a very well predicted storm," Hanson said. "We are pleased with the way our forecasters have handled the situation and the media has been great in getting the message across."

Models had suggested that this storm would become a "weather bomb," with its central barometric pressure falling to 24 millibars or more in 24 hours. After a period of rapid intensification, many sites recorded atmospheric pressures equal to those of a Category 2 hurricane. The typical atmospheric pressure in good weather is about 1010 to 1015 millibars.

Pueblo, Colorado, reportedly dropped to its lowest atmospheric pressure ever recorded. The lower the pressure, the more intense the storm. It is an indicator that the atmosphere is less of a given place, the elimination of air creating a vacuum effect. This sucks the ambient air and causes violent winds.

Lamar, Colo., Can set a record with its pressure reading of 970.4 millibars.

Dodge City, Kan., Also recorded his lowest pressure in the last century.

The incredible pressure gradient in the area meant that damaging winds would continue on most high plains and mountains.

Winds reached 103 mph in Pine Springs, Texas, and 104 mph in San Augustin Pass, to the northwest, while gusts in several locations in Colorado reached 90 mph. Wind gusting to 85 mph at Weskan, Kan., 89 mph at Hemingford, Neb., 80 mph at Amarillo, Tex. And 74 mph at Gage, Okla.

The winds toppled prestigious vehicles in Texas and, in Logan, Nova Scotia, blew up 26 cars from a bridge. No injuries were reported during the incident.

While heavy storms, blizzard and high winds captured most of the headlines of the storm, heavy rains led to severe flooding and ice jams where snow turned into rain in the afternoon. Eastern Nebraska and South Dakota, as well as in western and central Iowa.

"The superintendent of the road in Yankton County has said that 75% of the county's roads are either under water, or that water passes through them in places," tweeted Tom Hanson, an anchor for KDLT at Sioux Falls, S.D.

The Des Moines registry reported that "30-foot ice slabs" were flowing in the rivers, damage a bridgeand "severe flooding problems" that led to the closure of highways and roads.

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