Yet another “bomb cyclone” storm is about to touch down and cause chaos for much of the central United States, bringing in massive amounts of rain, snow, and hail with it. These type of storms are becoming increasingly common in recent months and years, occurring when there is a rapid pressure drop of at least 24 millibars (which measures atmospheric pressure) over the course of a 24 hour period. The phenomenon is also known as a “bombogenesis.”
Affected areas, particularly in the Rockies, Upper Midwest, and Central and Northern Plains will reportedly experience blizzard conditions and hurricane-force wind gusts of up to 50 to 70 miles per hour on Wednesday into Thursday, and winter storm warnings have gone into effect in parts of several states. Colorado may be hit the hardest with snow accumulations up to five to eight inches predicted, with icy roads, whiteout conditions, and strong winds making travel extremely dangerous:
The National Weather Service in Boulder, Colorado, issued a blunt message Tuesday: “Please cancel any travel plans Wednesday afternoon and evening especially east of I-25, and stay tuned for further updates!”
“The heavy snow and visibility near zero will create extremely dangerous travel conditions, and power outages are also possible,” according to the National Weather Service.
Meanwhile, parts of the Southern Great Plains have been issued flood warnings — especially if existing ice clogs rivers and streams — and winds of 35 to 45 mph, similar to a low-end tropical storm.
With schools and businesses closed in preparation for Wednesday’s storm, particularly in many areas of Colorado, residents were out in force preparing on Tuesday evening:
While others made jokes:
Reports of rain changing over to snow in Colorado began coming in at just after 9 a.m. local time, so the next several hours will determine just how wild things are about to get.