WASHINGTON – From the Colorado Rockies to the Northeast, heavy snow, wind and flooding rains are affecting 70 million Americans, leaving many without power and others stranded on roads and at airports.
Experts say the storm has developed into a “bomb cyclone,” when atmospheric pressure takes a big drop creating hurricane winds, tornados and severe blizzards.
Colorado has been one of the hardest hit states, with white-out conditions and wind gusts reaching Category 2 hurricane levels.
“I grew up in New Orleans so I’ve seen a hurricane but his is a snow-ricane,” one stranded passenger said.
The storm forced Denver International Airport to close all runways, cancelling more than 1,300 flights. On the roads, parts of Interstates 25 and 70 were shutdown by crashes, stranding hundreds of drivers.
The storm turned deadly when a Colorado state trooper responded to a crash and was hit by a sliding car.
Roughly 500,000 people have lost power in Colorado and Texas.
In New Mexico, heavy winds knocked train cars off the tracks and a funnel cloud was spotted.
Meteorologist Joe Bastardi told CBN News he wasn’t surprised by the ferocity of the storm.
“This time of year produces these kind of monsters,” he said. “The positive spin on this, if you want to put it that way, is there was so much energy focused with this storm, if you look at the usual tornado outbreaks that occur with these big storms that go up into the plains – very minimal overall. There’s only been three or four tornadoes reported here.”
The storm is rolling right along, expected to head across the Great Lakes into Canada Thursday and Friday and bring heavy rains to the Northeast and possible tornadoes in the South.