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Bomb Cyclone Threatening More Than 70 Million People Across Central U.S.

Bomb Cyclone Threatening More Than 70 Million People Across Central U.S.

Denver Public Schools closed Wednesday because of "severe winter weather and road conditions", and more than two dozen schools districts in South Dakota are closed due to weather. There have been reports of so-called "thunder snow" as lightning mixed with heavy bands of snow.

The term "bomb cyclone" has plenty of dramatic flair, but it's a nickname for the tongue-tying weather term "bombogenesis".

A 250-mile (402-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 80 from Cheyenne to Rock Springs in southern Wyoming was closed, along with a 300-mile (483-kilometer) section of Interstate 25 from Buffalo, Wyoming, to the Colorado border. It's also a drop of over 30 millibars in under 24 hours which more than exceeds the definition of a bomb cyclone. It rapidly gained strength during the early Wednesday and was producing some of the lowest barometric readings ever observed in the area.

And its central pressure is dropping to levels that could set records for a storm of this type. "This will far exceed that". Blizzard conditions could spread into the Northern Plains region by Thursday morning. Travel could also be very hard with widespread blowing snow, causing reduced visibility on Thursday.

Cpl. Daniel Groves
Cpl. Daniel Groves

FEMA Region 8 - which covers Colorado, Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming - advised residents to have a 3-day supply food/water, battery-powered radio, flashlights and portable chargers on hand for the expected power outages associated with the wind gusts up to 75-80 miles per hour in the region.

By Thursday, the storm system will weaken as it moves over the Tennessee River Valley, bringing mostly rain from MI southward to the Gulf Coast and some remaining snow only in the far northern parts of the country, he added. The powerful winds have left over 200,000 Denver area residents without power while Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has activated the Colorado National Guard for search and rescue operations for stranded drivers in the blizzard.

Amid the expected severe weather, more than 1,200 flights within, into or out of the United States were canceled as of Wednesday morning, according to the website FlightAware. "Heavy rains. isolated flooding and severe weather will accompany these thunderstorms as they march fairly quickly eastward", the weather service said. The weather service has issued a winter storm watch for Wednesday evening into Thursday.

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