Published: Sat, March 16, 2019

Late-winter storm moves to Upper Midwest; flooding remains

Late-winter storm moves to Upper Midwest; flooding remains

"Heavy rain, snow melt, and ice jams on rivers have produced widespread flooding across the Upper Midwest", federal forecasters said.

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.

"Climate change is linked to unusual jet stream behavior and warming in the Gulf of Mexico, both of which can affect storm activity", she said.

In Sioux Falls, S.D., the eponymous falls were raging Wednesday and Thursday, and floodwaters forced dozens of road closures.

The National Weather Service reports several cities in eastern South Dakota and northwestern Iowa set rainfall records for the date Wednesday.

"We've got a lot of water, and it's got to find a way to get out of here", said Tracy West, mayor of Lennox, South Dakota.

The "bomb cyclone" contributed to a 100-car pileup on Interstate 25 in Colorado Wednesday, which left over 1,000 drivers stranded on the artery for several hours. As of March 12, the storm has recorded a 78-mph wind gust in Dallas and an unofficial record for lowest pressure at 975 millibars in Pueblo, Colorado.

"Travel will remain hard and life threatening across these areas, with improving conditions Thursday night into Friday as the storm pushes farther off to the northeast", the NWS says.

The system was moving out of the central Plains on Thursday, but weather service meteorologist Peter Rogers said flooding is likely to persist into the weekend in parts of South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa, with deeply frozen ground preventing rain and snowmelt from soaking into the soil.

Colorado Department of Transportation now has Interstate 70 reopened after the bomb cyclone on Thursday

"There's still a few headlines left on this storm", said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

The window-rattling storm brought blizzards, floods and a tornado across more than 25 states Wednesday, stretching from the northern Rocky Mountains to Texas and beyond.

A mountain wave is an area of extremely turbulent air found on the lee side of a mountain barrier like the Rockies when there is a strong flow of wind present.

Such severe conditions have led to the closing of school districts in areas of Colorado, with power being unavailable to over 175,000 people.

Daniel Groves, 52, was killed after a wayward 2001 Volvo had struck him while he was on the scene of another vehicle that slid off Interstate 76 in Weld County.

A system is said to rapidly intensify if the pressure drops 24 mb in 24 hours.

About 50 National Guard soldiers and airmen used specialized vehicles with tank-like treads to rescue 75 people stranded in their cars during the storm.

A tornado in New Mexico sheared roofs off buildings in the small town of Dexter, about 200 miles southwest of Albuquerque. A tornado touched down Thursday in western Kentucky, damaging utility lines and trees. No deaths or injuries have been reported as yet.

"It is a tragic reminder that people's lives are at stake", said Shoshana Lew, head of the Colorado Department of Transportation.


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