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'Bomb cyclone' knocks out power, disrupts travel in central US

The storm knocked out power Wednesday to thousands of homes and businesses in South Dakota

AP | PTI  |  Colorado 

Bomb cylone
Bomb cylone storm track. Photo: Twitter (@ChrisMartzWX)

A system known as a "bomb cyclone" slowly churned through the US interior Thursday for the second time in a month, unleashing a that struck the Upper Midwest and creating hazardous fire conditions farther south.

The knocked out power Wednesday to thousands of homes and businesses in South Dakota, disrupted air and from to and threatened to swell rivers in the Midwest that flooded after March's drenching.

Both storms are known as a "bomb cyclone," a weather phenomenon that entails a rapid drop in air pressure and a strengthening explosively, said David Roth, a forecaster at the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in

The latest storm's impacts 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, and

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

Particularly hard hit by the storm were and southwestern Minnesota, where up to 2 feet (0.61 meters) of snow was expected to fall, the 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 in Aberdeen,

Transportation officials closed Interstate 29 from east to the border, as well as a 270-mile (434-kilometer) section of Interstate 90 between Rapid City and Mitchell, South Dakota.

Numerous traffic crashes were reported in northeastern South Dakota, and the storm knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses in

Officials in closed a 150-mile (241-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 76 from just northeast of to the border, and Gov. activated the in case troops are needed to rescue stranded motorists. Public Schools announced delayed starts Thursday for some campuses due to weather.

About half of the daily flights at Airport were canceled on Wednesday.

Multiple crashes in along a snowy stretch of Interstate 35 prompted officials to close about 10 miles (16 kilometers) of the highway about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of

In Nebraska, the State Patrol was sending additional troopers into the state's panhandle, and officials closed Interstate 80 in that region.

"This storm is going to be dangerous," Patrol Maj. Russ Stanczyk said. An unusual but not rare weather phenomenon known as "thunder snow" snow accompanied by thunder and lightning was reported in

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

South Dakota Gov. closed state government offices in 52 counties. Numerous schools around the state closed, along with several offices in and eastern Gov. extended five weather-related orders until May 15 to help communities gain fast access to the state's emergency resources. Gov. said "the 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 3/4ths of an inch of ice could accumulate on power lines, leading to outages.

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

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.

Even moderate rises in the River will push more water into drenched in southwestern Iowa, 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.

First Published: Thu, April 11 2019. 11:55 IST