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'Bomb Cyclone' storm battering central U.S.

Blizzard warnings posted from Colorado to Minnesota.

Posted: Apr 10, 2019 3:55 PM
Updated: Apr 10, 2019 3:56 PM

(ASSOCIATED PRESS) - Blizzard warnings were posted from Colorado to Minnesota on Wednesday and wildfires were a concern in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma as the second so-called "bomb cyclone" storm in less than a month hit the central U.S., raising the prospect of renewed flooding in the already drenched Midwest.

Heavy snow began disrupting ground and air travel Wednesday afternoon. Roads became impassable and visibility was down to a few feet in northeastern South Dakota due to snowfall of up to 11 inches. About half of the daily flights at Denver International Airport were canceled.

Up to 2 ½ feet (0.61 meters) of snow was expected to fall in parts of eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota, the National Weather Service said. Winds in excess of 50 mph (80.46 kph) also were expected, creating life-threatening conditions.

"We're calling it historic because of the widespread heavy snow. We will set some records," said Mike Connelly, a weather service meteorologist in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Transportation officials closed Interstate 29 from east central South Dakota to the North Dakota border and said other stretches of major interstates were likely to close later as conditions deteriorated. Numerous traffic crashes were reported in northeastern South Dakota, though there were no immediate reports of serious injuries. Transportation officials in Colorado said highway closures also were likely in that state.

An unusual but not rare weather phenomenon known as "thunder snow" — snow accompanied by thunder and lightning — was reported in central South Dakota.

"It's essentially a thunderstorm, but it's cold enough for snow," Connelly said.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem closed state government offices in 52 counties. Numerous schools around the state closed, along with several Black Hills National Forest offices in western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said "the National Guard stands ready" to rescue any stranded motorists.

The weather service posted an ice storm warning into Friday morning for a portion of southern Minnesota, saying up to three-fourths of an inch of ice could accumulate on power lines, leading to outages.

To the west, the looming spring blizzard in the Rockies was impacting flights, school classes, government functions and even baseball.

Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies postponed an afternoon game against the Atlanta Braves until August. A few school districts in Colorado and Wyoming canceled classes, while others opted for a shortened day and canceled evening activities. Local governments, including in Denver and Cheyenne, Wyoming, and state government in the Denver area closed offices early to give workers time to commute before conditions worsened.

Strong winds associated with the weather system were creating dangerous wildfire and travel conditions in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. The weather service issued a high wind warning for the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.

Winds in excess of 50 mph (80.46 kph) were combining with low humidity and an unstable atmosphere to create critical fire conditions in the three states. Forecasters in New Mexico said the winds also would make travel difficult on north-south oriented roads such as Interstate 25. In southern New Mexico, the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range closed Wednesday because of the high winds.

The storm technically met the scientific definition of what's commonly known as a "bomb cyclone," said David Roth, a forecaster at the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in Maryland.

The weather phenomenon with a complex scientific definition essentially entails a rapid drop in air pressure and a storm strengthening explosively. What is more important than the term is the storm's impacts, which are likely to be similar to last month's storm , Roth said.

That blast dropped heavy snow and led to massive flooding in the Midwest that caused billions of dollars in damage in Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and South Dakota.

"Hopefully this time it will be a slow snowmelt," Roth said.

Forecasters said this week's storm will swell rivers again, though likely not to the levels seen last month due to the absence of a wet snowpack on frozen ground this time around.

"We're not out of the woods," Walz said.

Even moderate rises in the Missouri River will push more water into drenched Fremont County in southwestern Iowa, Emergency Manager Mike Crecelius said. Last month's flooding swamped 455 houses and thousands of acres of farmland in his region.

"The problem is that we're not getting any time for the water to recede and things to dry out, so the levees can't be fixed; houses can't be fixed; crops can't be planted," he said. "And the last spring forecast I saw does not look favorable for us at all. It looks to be a very wet spring."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 41571

Reported Deaths: 1537
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13328790
Ramsey5169232
Dakota265596
Stearns249619
Anoka2393111
Nobles16846
Olmsted125920
Washington125541
Mower9822
Rice8798
Scott8584
Clay61238
Kandiyohi5901
Blue Earth5632
Wright5285
Carver4691
Todd4022
Sherburne3625
Lyon3332
Freeborn3120
Watonwan2670
Steele2451
Benton2363
St. Louis22316
Nicollet20312
Martin1755
Cottonwood1420
Winona14115
Goodhue1408
Le Sueur1251
Crow Wing11312
Pine1120
Otter Tail1111
Chisago1071
McLeod1000
Dodge960
Carlton900
Polk883
Unassigned8838
Isanti810
Chippewa801
Waseca770
Murray730
Itasca7112
Douglas700
Pipestone694
Morrison641
Becker620
Meeker621
Faribault610
Sibley582
Jackson570
Pennington530
Beltrami470
Brown442
Mille Lacs392
Wabasha380
Renville372
Fillmore350
Rock340
Swift331
Houston320
Yellow Medicine310
Grant250
Roseau250
Redwood230
Wilkin223
Koochiching211
Norman210
Cass192
Big Stone170
Kanabec171
Lincoln170
Wadena170
Aitkin150
Marshall130
Pope130
Clearwater120
Stevens110
Hubbard100
Mahnomen101
Lake60
Traverse60
Lac qui Parle50
Red Lake40
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34564

Reported Deaths: 747
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7332184
Woodbury332944
Black Hawk249259
Buena Vista173711
Johnson14268
Dallas138531
Linn138183
Marshall109219
Scott103110
Dubuque94023
Story8575
Pottawattamie82112
Wapello71431
Muscatine68745
Crawford6803
Sioux5010
Tama48329
Wright3971
Louisa36513
Webster3655
Plymouth3465
Jasper34417
Warren3191
Dickinson2993
Cerro Gordo2841
Washington2519
Hamilton2011
Boone1681
Clay1491
Clarke1433
Allamakee1384
Clinton1321
Shelby1200
Mahaska11917
Carroll1131
Poweshiek1128
Bremer1107
Pocahontas1071
Franklin1040
Des Moines1002
Cedar951
Emmet950
Henry933
Hardin900
Cherokee831
Floyd812
Taylor810
Marion800
Monona780
Benton751
Guthrie754
Jones710
Butler682
Osceola680
Sac680
Buchanan631
Calhoun632
Iowa631
Jefferson620
Hancock601
Harrison600
Humboldt601
Fayette570
Jackson570
Lyon570
Delaware561
Madison552
Lee542
Monroe527
Palo Alto510
Clayton503
Grundy470
Mills470
Winneshiek460
Mitchell440
Davis421
Kossuth410
Union380
Howard370
Lucas354
Unassigned350
Winnebago340
Greene300
Chickasaw290
Cass280
Ida230
Keokuk231
Worth220
Appanoose213
Page210
Van Buren210
Audubon181
Adair170
Ringgold161
Decatur130
Montgomery122
Wayne110
Fremont100
Adams80
Rochester
Scattered Clouds
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Mason City
Clear
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Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
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Albert Lea
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 80°
Austin
Clear
79° wxIcon
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Feels Like: 80°
Charles City
Clear
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Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 82°
Chance for more storms Monday
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