The second storm, the one that hit California on Tuesday, was classified as a “bomb cyclone” according to the NWS. It brought record winds and rainfall to the state. It will make its way to much of the Midwest by Friday and Saturday.
A bomb cyclone forms when a weather system undergoes a rapid drop in pressure. The drop is called explosive cyclogenesis, or bombogenesis. The drop in pressure makes the storm more intense.
The bomb cyclone is moving east on the heels of the first storm, a powerful winter storm, that hit the Denver area Tuesday, closing the airport and stranding travelers for a time. By Wednesday, that storm had begun to move east.
Highways and schools were closed across western states, as the NWS urged people to delay or cancel their travel plans.
Flights are expected to be grounded or canceled as the storms move across the country, causing a headache for millions of holiday travelers.
Southwest Airlines canceled about 200 flights on Tuesday, according to reporting from The Associated Press. Spokesman Brad Hawkins said it would take “a couple of days” to get stranded passengers on other flights because there are few during the pre-Thanksgiving travel crush.
About 1,100 people spent the night at the Denver airport, including many cadets from the Air Force Academy in nearby Colorado Springs who either missed flights or wanted to get to the airport before road conditions deteriorated, airport spokeswoman Alex Renteria said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.