Winter Storm Brings Heavy Snow and High Winds Across Central US

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An earlier round of heavy, wet snow caused several roofs to collapse, including those of a church and a hotel, in the Upper Midwest last weekend. The National Weather Service warned of heavy rains, severe thunderstorms, flooding, heavy snows, blizzard conditions, and heavy winds across the central US over the next two days.

About 1,000 flights into Denver have been canceled as a winter storm hits the western USA, with blizzard conditions expected to engulf parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota.

On Wednesday morning, the storm's pressure had dropped to the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane.

The Lower Mississippi Valley and southern Plains will experience thunderstorms with heavy rain and flooding.

Bomb cyclones (also known as Bombogenesis) happen when the atmospheric pressure drops quickly, McClatchy previously reported. "This will be one of the strongest wind events in years for West Texas and Southeast New Mexico".

"Very high winds will also affect large portions of the Southern to Central High Plains where high wind warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service offices across these areas", the NWS' Weather Prediction Center wrote.

More than 1,000 flights have been canceled Wednesday, according to FlightAware. On Twitter, the weather service warned residents to "cancel any travel plans Wednesday afternoon and evening".

Cpl. Daniel Groves
Cpl. Daniel Groves

An outbound Continental Airlines jet gets de-iced at Denver International Airport January 05, 2017.

"We're going to see possibly near-zero visibility over the Eastern Plains", Bowen said, according to Colorado Public Radio. Denver is under a blizzard warning, and snow accumulations of five to eight inches are expected.

Combined with the storms from the past few weeks, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center has an avalanche warning (level 4 of 5) for Wednesday, and travel in the backcountry is not recommended.

Utah: The Beehive State appears to be on the back end of the storm.

In Nebraska, officials late Wednesday morning closed a roughly 130-mile strech of westbound Interstate 80, from Ogallala to the state line with Wyoming, because of the blizzard.

The major storm will continue to strengthen Wednesday in the Central Rockies, pushing east to the Central Plains.

Forecasters said they expect winds of up to 70 miles per hour (110 kph) to sweep across a wide area of states to the south, including New Mexico and parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. There is a wind advisory in effect for all of Michiana on Thursday because winds gusts will be between 45 and 55 miles per hour throughout the day, in addition to thunderstorms which are possible in the afternoon. Flash flooding is possible if ice jams clog rivers and streams, the weather service noted.

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