‘Bomb cyclone’ dumps snow across Midwest


A traveller drags a suitcase as a late winter storm packing hurricane-force winds and snow sweeps over the intermountain West Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The massive Great Plains blizzard has dumped over a half foot of snow on Denver and a foot and one half in the mountains.  

That low-pressure storm system became a “bomb” cyclone, not because of the snow, but because of the rapid intensification of the low-pressure system.

When a low-pressure system has a pressure drop of at least 24 millibars in 24 hours or less, it is said to be “bombing” out.

This storm dropped from 994 millibars to 970 in only 12 hours. The storm, at its lowest, was 968 millibars. 

By comparison, Hurricane Florence came ashore at 958 millibars.  Normal sea-level pressure is 1013 millibars.

The lower the pressure, the more intense the storm and the stronger the winds.

 This winter storm had low enough pressure to produce hurricane-force wind gusts.  

A wind gust near 100 mph was reported in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  

The National Weather Service had almost 100 reports of wind damage across the region.

A Weather Service database has found that this storm may have had the lowest pressure reading in southeastern Colorado since a storm in March of 1950.  

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