Just when you think the worst of the winter weather is over, a bomb cyclone hits.
Much of the country is grappling with this unique weather phenomenon characterized by hurricane-force winds and massive amounts of snow and rain. The center of the storm was parked over Iowa and Nebraska on early Thursday after it had dumped up to 45 inches of snow in parts of Southern Colorado in the days before.
105 million people are under some type of weather advisory as a result of the far-reaching storm. Although Colorado saw the bomb cyclone manifest itself in the form of snow, rain is the main culprit in Iowa and Illinois. Parts of those states are experiencing flooding, especially in low-lying areas near the Mississippi River. In Missouri, the Platte, Elkhorn, and Missouri rivers have all reached the top of the banks.
Because of the rapid drop of pressure associated with a bomb cyclone, tornado watches have been issued in parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Approximately 175,000 people have been left without power as the storm barrels through. Most of these outages are in Colorado and Texas.
One of the most affected large areas is the Denver area. Denver Public Schools was one of many school districts that canceled school because of poor road conditions and power outages. The storm is being blamed for the death of Colorado State Patrol Cpl. Daniel Groves, age 52. The officer was responding to a car accident in Weld County on Interstate 76 when he was struck by another vehicle. Groves was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Air travel has also been severely affected by the bomb cyclone. Over 3,500 flights have been canceled over the last two days. At one point on Wednesday, all of the runways were closed at Denver International Airport. Workers handed out blankets to stranded travelers, trying to make them comfortable as it became apparent that they would not be leaving for a while.
As the storm moves east on Thursday, the Dakotas and Minnesota can expect to see up to a foot of snow.