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Alert! Bomb Cyclone, Heavy Snow Has Cancelled More Than 1,300 Flights

Tooba Maher
Tooba Maher

A "bomb cyclone" of high winds and drifting snow has hit U.S. Rocky Mountain and Plains states on Wednesday. It canceled more than 1,300 airline flights and was blamed for the death of a Colorado state trooper. 

Colorado Governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency due to the storm. He said that he had activated the state National Guard to assist in search and rescue operations. 

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and the Dakotas. Schools and businesses were closed and local authorities urged residents to hunker down. 

This storm has been referred by meteorologists as a "bomb cyclone," a winter hurricane that forms when the barometric pressure drops 24 millibars in 24 hours. 

The Colorado State Police said one of its troopers, Corporal Daniel Groves, was struck by a car that veered out of control on Interstate 76 and died of his injuries a short time later at Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton. 

Effects on Flights: 

All six runways at Denver International Airport were shuttered including the main road into the airport due to drifting, blowing snow. According to an airport spokesman, 1,339 flights had been canceled as of mid-afternoon. All incoming flights of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport were also canceled.  

School districts in the seven-county Denver metropolitan were closed, along with most city and state government offices and many businesses. 

Utility company Xcel Energy mentioned about 130,000 commercial and residential customers in Colorado were without power due to high winds and wet heavy snow. 

"Limited visibility has affected our ability to respond," said Xcel Energy spokesman Mark Stutz.  

Interstate 70 was closed east of Denver to the Kansas state line and sections of Interstate 25 were also shut down, according to Colorado Department of Transportation. 

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. 

More than 100,000 electric power customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were left in the dark early on Wednesday after a line of rain squalls associated with the system moved through the area. 

According to weather forecast service, “The storm was also expected to bring heavy rain to areas of eastern Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota that already have a good deal of snow on the ground, raising the threat of river flooding.” 

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