Flooding in wake of 'bomb cyclone' threatens Nebraska nuclear plant

Flooding in wake of 'bomb cyclone' threatens Nebraska nuclear plant

Flooding in wake of 'bomb cyclone' threatens Nebraska nuclear plant

A day earlier, the NWS had described the blizzard - previously dubbed a "bomb cyclone" by USA meteorologists for its quick, late season punch - as being of "historic proportions" in a post on Twitter.

The storm left quickly rising floods in its wake in parts of eastern Nebraska and Iowa that saw residents evacuated from their homes, roads washed out in communities, and farmers anxious all the water would drown livestock.

"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). 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. It also formed hurricane-force gusting wind and led to 49 reports of hail stretching from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast this week.

A general view of the blizzard in Greeley Colorado

South Dakota's governor closed all state offices Thursday as the blizzard conditions moved in, while wind, blowing snow and snow-packed roadways also made travel treacherous in western Nebraska. Authorities said five people were hurt, but none of the injuries were life-threatening.

Tornado watches were issued in parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee on Thursday.

Meteorologists call the rapid change in pressure a "bomb cyclone" or "bombogenesis".

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"A bomb cyclone on the East Coast around this time a year ago killed multiple people, shut down train and plane service and knocked out power to about 2 million people", NPR's Rebecca Hersher reported Wednesday. "By mid-morning the heart of the storm will be western Iowa, headed toward Wisconsin and MI, where it will bring about a half-inch of warm rain", Hurley said. No one was injured, New Mexico State Police said.

"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.

Colorado has been one of the hardest hit states, with white-out conditions and wind gusts reaching 97 miles per hour - Category 2 hurricane levels. Parts of South Dakota have already gotten 15 inches of snow. In affected areas, many agencies are shutting down - and urging people to stay off the roads.

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The Colorado National Guard announced it had rescued 93 people and two dogs after inspecting about 250 vehicles. She said the snow was so blinding and numbing, and the wind was whipping so hard, she didn't feel safe walking to a hospital that was just down the road. We have people with children.

Bill Cooley, who works in Colorado Springs, said it usually takes him about 20 minutes to get home to Monument, but Wednesday it took eight hours. A large pileup was reported on I-25 southbound near the Palmer Divide south of Denver on Wednesday, involving more than 40 vehicles.

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