Bomb cyclone brings destruction to the area

Winter Storm Ulmer hit South Dakota and Nebraska Wednesday and Thursday, March 13 and 14, leaving behind a wake of devastation.

Ulmer, a “bomb cyclone,” underwent what meteorologists call bombogenesis, which means that its central pressure dropped at least 24 millibars in 24 hours or less. Ulmer dropped 26 millibars in 16 hours. When the central pressure in a storm system decreases, winds increase; when the pressure drop is rapid and reaches levels as low as Ulmer did, very strong wind gusts often occur.

Wind gusts over 85 mph were reported in western Kansas and western Nebraska. Blizzard criteria was reached in at least four states.

The storm first brought steady rains that caused flooding in many places, but the worst damage from the rains was caused by the ice chunks that broke loose and unleashed torrents of water and ice that took out bridges, dams, roads, and many homes in South Dakota and Nebraska.

 

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