"Potentially historic" storm slams hard-hit Plains, Midwest

A rapidly intensifying storm is sending temperatures plummeting by more than 40°F across the western and central Plains on Wednesday, spawning an April blizzard that could dump more than 2 feet of snow in some areas. 

Why it matters: This storm will paralyze a huge area of real estate and potentially set up beleaguered states such as Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, among others, for more flooding in coming days. It could also set records for snowfall — with the potential for as much as 30 or more inches in parts of the Midwest — and for the lowest atmospheric pressure reading observed during the month of April in particular states.

The air pressure reading is significant because the lower the air pressure, the stronger the storm. Remarkably, this bomb cyclone, so named because of its rapid rate of intensification, is following on the heels of another such storm that struck the same general region last month.

That event led to billions of dollars of damage, mainly due to widespread flooding that overran a major U.S. Air Force Base outside of Omaha.

Details: Wednesday's storm is spreading a smorgasbord of weather hazards, from flash flooding and severe thunderstorms to blizzard conditions, from Colorado to Minnesota and southward to the Gulf Coast. At its peak intensity late Wednesday into Thursday, winds could whip above 60 mph across multiple states from the Great Basin to the Upper Midwest.

  • In some areas, whiteout conditions will render travel impossible, with the National Weather Service warning of life-threatening travel conditions as the storm intensifies rapidly. Heavy, wet snow plus high winds could create long-lasting power outages as well. 
  • The heaviest snow looks to fall in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota, where 24–30 inches is possible, according to the NWS. 
  • Some states, like Nebraska, could see severe thunderstorms, heavy rain, icing and blizzard conditions at the same time. Thundersnow has already been observed in South Dakota as the storm gets underway there.
  • Blizzard warnings are in effect for 6 states, and whiteout conditions could shut portions of interstates 70, 80 and 90, as snow drifts pile up several feet high.
  • April snowfall records and possibly even all-time snowfall milestones could be set in parts of the Plains.

To continue reading: https://www.axios.com/potentially-historic-storm-slam-hard-hit-plains-midwest-b482797b-f634-4b65-8355-8c1f45623790.html