The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Deadly Bomb Cyclone Brings ‘Historic’ Snowfall to Central U.S.
One person died and tens of thousands lost power as the second "bomb cyclone" in a month brought snow and wind to the central U.S. Wednesday and Thursday.
The storm dumped snow on Colorado Wednesday, canceling hundreds of flights at Denver International Airport before moving through the plains to the upper Midwest, where it covered some parts of the region with up to two feet of snow, the Associated Press reported. Heavy snow fell in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota and Wisconsin, The Independent reported. Whiteout conditions were also reported in parts of Nebraska and Kansas, according to the Associated Press.
"We're calling it historic because of the widespread heavy snow," South Dakota meteorologist Mike Connelly told the Chicago Tribune, as The Independent reported. "We will set some record."
The storm claimed at least one life when a Colorado man lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a snow plow, AccuWeather reported.
The weather site projected the storm would cost $3 billion in economic damages. It led to road closures and forced the cancellation of almost 1,000 flights across the region. Conditions prompted Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to declare a state of emergency Thursday night.
Blizzard conditions in Minnesota led to more than 500 crashes, the Minnesota State Patrol said, according to the Associated Press.
"It's a mess out here. And that is an understatement," Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Gordon Shank said.
A video posted on social media by the Minnesota Department of Transportation showed every power line down along a stretch of Highway 59, NPR reported.
AccuWeather said the heaviest snowfall in the region had ended as of Friday morning, but that driving would still be difficult because of light snowfall and wind gusts.
The storm comes about a month after another "bomb cyclone" triggered record-breaking flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. This storm is not expected to cause as much flooding, AccuWeather explained:
The March 'bomb cyclone' caused a rapid meltdown of existing snow cover combined with torrential rainfall.
In contrast, rain associated with this storm was not as widespread and snow farther north is not expected to rapidly melt.
Even though rivers are high and some are currently still at major flood stage, a new round of record river flooding is not expected behind the storm.
"I think it's an interesting question to ask whether there's some climate change fingerprint on this," he said. "But it's a complicated puzzle to piece together."
However, in general global warming has increased both heavy rainfall and flooding in the Midwest as warmer air can hold more moisture, which means storms pour harder, the National Climate Assessment concluded.
If temperatures are cold enough, that moisture can fall as snow as well.
"During the period when it is cold enough to snow, if you've got enough moisture in the air, you can get some wicked big snowstorms," Princeton University professor of geosciences and international affairs Michael Oppenheimer told PBS in 2015.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."