Late-winter storm wallops four U.S. states, snarls travel

Meteorologists call storms like this one a "bomb cyclone", a winter hurricane that forms when the barometric pressure drops 24 millibars in 24 hours.

Flooding in the central USA on Friday swamped small towns, forced some residents along waterways to evacuate, threatened to temporarily close a nuclear power plant and shut down stretches of a major river and an interstate highway, foreshadowing a hard spring flooding season. Damaging Effects The National Weather Service described the powerful cyclone as a "cyclone of historic proportions".

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

The storm also spawned at least three tornadoes in MI and in on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. At the airports, 3,700 flights were canceled, leaving thousands of travelers stranded. The storm - previously dubbed a "bomb cyclone" for its quick, late season punch - was still expected to prompt warnings of blizzards and snow before noon in north central Kansas and Nebraska, Hurley said.

Several barns were destroyed and mobile homes were damaged in Daviess County, Kentucky, but no injuries were reported, emergency management officials said.

At the storm's peak, 2 feet of snow was dumped on Colorado's mountain regions, forcing the cancellation of more than 1,300 flights in Denver and trapping more than 1,000 motorists on roadsides.

Winds of more than 100 miles per hour have slammed into San Augustin Pass, New Mexico, and Pine Springs, Texas.

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A policeman in Lone Tree, Colo., talks to a driver as snow clogs the towns roads, caught in a later winter storm known as a bomb cyclone.

Parts of Kentucky and IN have been under tornado warnings Thursday - and one touched down IN Union County, Ky., where a motorist recorded video of the twister on his cellphone. No one was injured, New Mexico State Police said.

The Colorado National Guard announced it had rescued 93 people and two dogs after inspecting about 250 vehicles. In affected areas, many agencies are shutting down - and urging people to stay off the roads.

The department had reports of 1,100 stranded cars early Thursday, she said, and emergency crews were conducting searches amid snowdrifts as high as their SUVs, she said.

"We do know that here is a link between the warming Arctic and the weather patterns in the mid-latitudes", she said. "We have a pregnant woman", she said earlier Thursday.

Bill Cooley, who works in Colorado Springs, said it usually takes him about 20 minutes to get home to Monument, but Wednesday it took eight hours.

On Wednesday, 100 vehicles were involved in an accident on Interstate 25 near Wellington, Colorado, according to Wellington Fire Protection. Also contributing were Associated Press reporters Dan Elliott in Longmont, Colorado; David Pitt in Des Moines, Iowa; Bob Moen and Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyoming; Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee; James Anderson and Thomas Peipert in Denver; Jeff Baenen in Minneapolis; Josh Funk in Omaha, Nebraska; Seth Borenstein in Washington; David Warren in Dallas; Kathleen Foody in Denver.

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