Late-winter storm drops record rain in Midwest

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A blizzard that paralyzed parts of Colorado and Wyoming barreled into the Midwest on Thursday, bringing whiteout conditions to western Nebraska and dumping heavy rain that prompted evacuations in communities farther east.

Adding to the misery of those in its path, the bomb cyclone still threatens to bring severe storms, flash flooding, dense fog and possible tornadoes as it treks across the central part of the country. 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.

As authorities scrambled to rescue drivers, Colorado State Patrol Corporal Daniel Groves was killed after being struck by a vehicle while helping a stranded driver. He police said people should be careful during the exit. "The best place to be is at home and off the roads". The extreme weather system will affect an estimate of 74 million people on its path. Road Accidents In Colorado, blizzard conditions and gusty winds equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane left 1,100 motorists stranded.

One of the stranded drivers was Bria McKenzie, 22, who with her mother, brother and sister, was stuck in her auto for more than two hours on a hilly road in Colorado Springs.

Blizzard conditions and flooding closed numerous roadways in the region.

"While the storm has reached its lowest pressure and will gradually weaken over the next few days, strong winds will continue on the west side of the storm across portions of the Central and Northern Plains", Bob Oravec, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS), said on Thursday in a weather advisory. "We're looking at something that will go down in the history books". Meanwhile, hundreds of flights were canceled at Denver International Airport, and almost 40 were grounded in Colorado Springs.

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The wind-whipped storm forced schools and government offices across the state to close for the day and cut power to several hundred thousand homes and businesses. Xcel Energy spokesman Mark Stutz said zero visibility made conditions hard for fix workers, and it could take days to restore power to everyone.

It was caused by a combination of the jet stream and normal conditions in the wind shadow of the Rockies.

Mr. Carbin said the cyclone's rapidly steep drop in ground-level air pressure was the most pronounced decline recorded since 1950. When that much air rushes higher into the atmosphere, it causes severe weather.

A bomb cyclone occurs when there is a rapid pressure drop that occurs over the course of 24 hours.

A tornado in New Mexico ripped roofs from buildings in the small town of Dexter, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southwest of Albuquerque. A tornado touched down in Kentucky, leaving some damage and one person injured, according to officials. At least one tornado was confirmed in the MI community of Vernon, between Lansing and Flint, which damaged at last two homes, snapped numerous telephone poles and ripped a metal roof off of a building according to the U.S. National Weather Service.

In New Mexico, heavy winds knocked train cars off the tracks and a funnel cloud was spotted.

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