Flooding in the central US on Friday swamped small towns, forced some residents along waterways to evacuate, threatened to temporarily close a nuclear power plant and shut down stretches of a major river and an interstate highway, foreshadowing a hard spring flooding season. The missing individual had not been found by midday Thursday. The National Weather Service says the intense weather might have peaked - but isn't letting up yet. On Thursday the low pressure storm created nine tornadoes that ripped through Ohio, Kentucky (top and bottom right), Alabama and MI. It said the plant continued to operate safely and there was no threat to plant employees or to the public. The Red Cross opened shelters in Sioux Falls and Yankton.
The storm was expected to drop up to 22 inches (56 centimeters) of snow in Wyoming, 14 inches (36 centimeters) in South Dakota and a foot (31 centimeters) in Colorado.
Colorado is in a state of emergency following a major winter storm that hit the central USA, including the Great Plains Region.
Wisconsin's governor declared a state of emergency Friday as flooding worsened, and Iowa's governor expanded an emergency proclamation issued a day earlier.
"We've got a lot of water, and it's got to find a way to get out of here", said Tracy West, mayor of Lennox, South Dakota.
Bria McKenzie, 22, said she and her mother, brother and sister were stuck in their auto for more than two hours on a hilly road in Colorado Springs. A wind gust clocked in at 97 miles per hour (156 kph) in Colorado Springs.
Such severe conditions have led to the closing of school districts in areas of Colorado, with power being unavailable to over 175,000 people.
As millions of Americans feel the brunt of a powerful, late season storm, climate experts said the sudden blizzard was no fluke, but a sign of things to come. And in New Mexico, 36 miners at a nuclear waste repository were trapped underground in an elevator for about three hours because of a power outage caused by the extreme weather.
As authorities scrambled to rescue drivers, Colorado State Patrol Corporal Daniel Groves was killed after being struck by a vehicle while helping a stranded driver.
National Guard troops used specialized vehicles with tank-like treads to rescue stranded drivers.
Five people were hurt and 150 dairy cows had to be euthanized when a tornado hit the small town of Dexter, New Mexico, on Tuesday.
It was caused by a combination of the jet stream and normal conditions in the wind shadow of the Rockies. A tornado touched down Thursday in western Kentucky, damaging utility lines and trees.
The meteorological term "bomb cyclone" refers to a storm that intensifies very quickly, a process called bombogenesis - in which barometric pressure falls by at least 24 millibars over 24 hours. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
The current bomb cyclone also whacked part of Texas - including in Amarillo, where high winds shoved a semitruck off a highway Wednesday.
Officials in eastern Nebraska said more than 2,600 people living along the Missouri, Platte and Elkhorn rivers there had been urged to evacuate, as waters breached levees in several rural spots.
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