Late-winter storm hits Midwest after paralyzing Colorado

Late-winter storm hits Midwest after paralyzing Colorado

"Some of the devastating flooding associated with this storm is due to the fact that heavy rain is falling on areas where there is snow on the ground", said Kristina Dahl, senior climate scientist of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

This video shows firefighters from Denver's South Metro Fire Rescue crew braving blizzard conditions on a call-out to a property in Parker, Colorado, after strong winds blew a fence into a gas meter.

The National Weather Service predicts "much calmer" weather in most areas this weekend.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts issued an emergency declaration for the state, citing forecasts of up to 2 feet (0.61 m) of snow and high winds that are expected to make travel "difficult to impossible" on roads.

The restrictions came as the river reached moderate flood stage at almost 32 feet on Friday at Omaha, where it's expected to crest at almost 34 feet on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

By Friday, the "bomb cyclone" was 1,183 km away, flooding roads in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri and heading northeast into Minnesota toward Canada. It combines the force and wrath of the worst weather conditions, such as thunderstorms, severe blizzards, gusty winds, and flash floods.

Nebraska has also been hammered by high water. Most of these outages are in Colorado and Texas.

"We do know that here is a link between the warming Arctic and the weather patterns in the mid-latitudes", she said.

"Just today we're facing blizzards, white-out conditions, flooding, dense fog, and each of those pose a unique risk", he said.

A general view of the blizzard in Greeley Colorado

About 175,000 people are without power, a lot of them in Colorado and Texas. The storm dumped several inches of snow, blew over trees and power lines, stranded drivers and forced the cancellation of thousands of flights in and out of Denver International Airport.

The storm also contributed to the death of Corporal Daniel Groves, a Colorado State Patrol officer who was hit and killed by a auto as he helped another driver who had slid off Interstate 76 near Denver.

About 50 National Guard soldiers and airmen used specialized vehicles with tank-like treads to rescue 75 people stranded in their cars during the storm. It was caused by a combination of the jet stream and normal conditions in the wind shadow of the Rockies.

A tornado in New Mexico ripped roofs from buildings in the small town of Dexter, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southwest of Albuquerque.

CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller reported that the current storm pressure has "dropped 24 millibars in the last 18 hours" so the phenomenon definitely ticks all the criteria of a bomb cyclone.

Fringes of the storm triggered a tornado in Kentucky, and tornado watches were issued throughout the region and as far east as Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, the NWS reported Friday.

"It is a tragic reminder that people's lives are at stake", said Shoshana Lew, head of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

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

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