Colorado is in a state of emergency following a major winter storm that hit the central U.S., including the Great Plains Region.
The winter storm called "Ulmer" transformed into a bomb cyclone in less than a day. It combines the force and wrath of the worst weather conditions, such as thunderstorms, severe blizzards, gusty winds, and flash floods.
The extreme weather system will affect an estimate of 74 million people on its path.
In Colorado, blizzard conditions and gusty winds equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane left 1,100 motorists stranded.
The harsh weather also resulted in road accidents involving 100 vehicles on north Interstate 25. High speed in poor driving conditions is the likely cause of the accidents, according to local police.
The situation turned deadly when Colorado State Patrol Cpl. 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.
What Is A Bomb Cyclone?
The winter storm underwent bombogenesis and morphed into a bomb cyclone as it hit Colorado on Mar. 12.
Bomb cyclone, a rare meteorological phenomenon, occurs when a storm undergoes rapid strengthening in a short period of time. When a storm drops barometric pressure of at least 24 millibars, units of atmospheric pressure, within 24 hours or less, it bombs out or turns into a bomb cyclone.
A bomb cyclone is the equivalent of a winter hurricane and has a pressure comparable to a Category 2 hurricane.
"This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters," stated the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
Weather models showed that since Mar. 11, the storm's pressure has plummeted from 24 millibars to 33 millibars and continues to gain strength.
As of Mar. 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.
The National Weather Service described the powerful cyclone as a "cyclone of historic proportions." The cyclone has resulted in a widespread power outage, structural damages, and thousands of flight cancellations across Colorado.
Xcel Energy confirmed that more than 100,000 customers are without power supply. Roads and state highways are closed to avoid more accidents.
Blizzard warnings are raised in Denver, Wyoming, Nebraska, large portions of Dakota, and some areas in western Minnesota.
Weather service forecasts heavy snowfall up to 12 inches in the central and northern plains while flood warnings are up in parts of southeastern South Dakota, Iowa, and eastern Nebraska.
Thunderstorms and flash flood warnings are also up in Michigan and Kansas.