‘Bomb cyclone’ leaves 600K powerless; strong winds hit 80 million

Ferocious winds from a potent “bomb cyclone” roared across the eastern U.S. on Monday, leaving 600,000 homes and businesses without power. 

Nearly 80 million people live where high wind warnings or advisories were in effect Monday across parts of 14 states, according to the National Weather Service. At least 500 flights have been cancelled Monday, according to FlightAware.

Wind gusts of up to 81 mph have been reported from the storm – the same system that brought snow to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, record snow to Flagstaff, a blizzard and bitter cold to the upper Midwest and floods and deadly tornadoes in the South.

The storm is called a bomb cyclone because it rapidly intensified due to a dramatic drop in atmospheric pressure.

More: What is a bomb cyclone? Winter hurricane explained.

Over the weekend, a woman was killed when a tornado hit Mississippi, and a man died when he drove into floodwaters in Tennessee, officials said.

In Tennessee, a record-setting amount of rain and devastating floods hit the state; Knoxville was among the hardest hit. “‘There were no areas of Knoxville that weren’t affected,” Knox County Commissioner Larsen Jay said.

Elsewhere in Tennessee, a landslide closed a key highway between Clarksville and Nashville for at least the next week.

More: Tornado tears through Columbus, Mississippi, leads to first tornado death of 2019

In northern Alabama Monday, residents are using boats to reach flooded-out neighborhoods and schools are shut down after days of torrential rains.

In Mississippi on Saturday, an EF3 tornado smashed into a commercial district in Columbus, located about 130 miles northeast of Jackson. In addition to the one death, a dozen other people sustained injuries.

The north-central U.S. dug out Monday from a blizzard that dumped heavy snow across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

A whiteout near Neenah, Wisconsin, on Sunday led to a 130-car pileup that killed one person and injured 71 others. “I’ve been in the law enforcement business – this is my 27th year,” Winnebago County Deputy Todd Christopherson said. “On scene, that was the worst conditions I’ve ever seen.”

More: 100-vehicle pileup on icy highway kills one person and injures several others

Late last week, as the storm moved across the Southwest, rare snow fell in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In Flagstaff, an incredible 35.9 inches fell on Thursday alone, the city’s all-time snowiest day on record, the weather service said. 

Yet another storm was barreling into the West Monday, bringing heavy rain and snow to Washington, Oregon, northern California and Idaho. Up to 3 inches was forecast for Portland, Oregon, leading to school closures and delays Monday.

Contributing: The Knoxville News-Sentinel; The Green Bay Press-Gazette, The (Clarksville, Tenn.) Leaf-Chronicle; The (Salem) Statesman-JournalThe Associated Press

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