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'Bomb cyclone,' late winter storm slams Plains, Midwest

16 March 2019

Thursday's severe storms are the product of the same Colorado low that brought a late-winter blizzard to the US central Plains states states on Wednesday, bringing high winds and as much as two feet of snow, disrupting air and road travel, as well as causing widespread power outages amid frigid temperatures. The flooding was the worst in almost a decade in places, though the situation was expected to improve quickly in many places over the weekend, according to Mike Gillispie, National Weather Service hydrologist in Sioux Falls.

About 45 miles northwest of Omaha, the town of North Bend - home to almost 1,200 along the banks of the Platte River - emergency workers used boats to evacuate residents.

Crews around Platte Valley were rescuing residents from King Lake when they were also stuck. Within hours of that request, anyone left in the city found all access in and out cut off by floodwaters from the Elkhorn River. Winds also forced the evacuation of the local airport's control tower and knocked out power in the Texas Panhandle and in eastern New Mexico. No one was injured, New Mexico State Police said.

"We've had a variety of calls". The president also praised first responders and emergency response teams for doing "a great job dealing" with flooding, high winds and road closures. However, flooding will persist throughout the MS and Missouri river.

South Dakota's governor closed all state offices Thursday as the blizzard conditions moved in, while wind, blowing snow and snow-packed roadways made travel treacherous in western Nebraska. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an emergency disaster proclamation Thursday and activated the state emergency operations center.

The U.S. Coast Guard shut down all traffic on the Missouri River from about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) south of Omaha, Nebraska, downstream to St. Joseph, Missouri on Friday, a stretch of about 70 miles (112.7 kilometers).

Around midday, Sioux Falls' precipitation was expected to turn from rain to snow - which has already brought perilous conditions to the western part of the state.

'Bomb cyclone,' late winter storm slams Plains, Midwest
'Bomb cyclone,' late winter storm slams Plains, Midwest

The Nebraska Public Power District declared an "unusual event" at its Cooper Nuclear Station power plant on Friday due to the possibility of flooding along the Missouri.

The heavy rain that fell on top of melting snow in Plains states this week flowed directly into swollen rivers because most of the ground is still frozen.

Several Colorado cities, including Denver, were hit the hardest.

Weather service meteorologist Peter Rogers says flooding is likely to persist into the weekend. The U.S. National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming, western Nebraska and parts of the Dakotas - where travel was almost brought to a halt due to the weather conditions.

Hundreds of flights were canceled at Denver International Airport, and almost 40 were grounded in Colorado Springs.

"While the storm has reached its lowest pressure and will gradually weaken over the next few days, strong winds will continue on the west side of the storm across portions of the Central and Northern Plains", Bob Oravec, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS), said on Thursday in a weather advisory.

Several barns were destroyed and mobile homes were damaged in Daviess County, Kentucky, but no injuries were reported, emergency management officials said.

'Bomb cyclone,' late winter storm slams Plains, Midwest