A "bomb cyclone" (also known as Bombogenesis) happens when a cyclone develops so fast that it drops the atmospheric pressure by at least 24 millibars, according to NOAA. Some locations could receive up to two feet of snow. "Severe weather will accompany these thunderstorms", NWS said, as the system moves quickly eastward.
The massive storm is expected to wallop areas including the Rockies, Central/Northern Plains to the Upper Midwest with blizzard conditions and winds that could blow from 50 to 70 miles per hour. To be more technically correct, we refer to a storm rapidly gaining strength like this as explosive cyclogenesis.
"Snow and gusty winds from Ulmer continue from the Colorado Rockies to western South Dakota and much of Wyoming".
An outbound Continental Airlines jet gets de-iced at Denver International Airport January 05, 2017. According to FlightAware, more than 1,400 Wednesday flights have already been canceled.
Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean noted, "70 million people will potentially be affected by this storm system across the Plains states, bringing blizzard conditions, potential tornadoes and flash flooding". Southwest, Frontier and United have canceled flights and more cancellations and delays are possible, DIA said. Fargo-Moorhead is on the edge of an area of southeast North Dakota and west-central Minnesota that could see up to 4 inches of rain and freezing rain before snow moves in on Thursday.
According to the Weather Prediction Center blizzard warnings cover parts of seven states.
The website reported that conditions are starting to deteriorate, including blizzard conditions, in the High Plains. Morning rain in Denver quickly turned to snow by afternoon with the potential of 10 inches of powder to fall in the state's capital, with even more in the mountains and plains to the east.
By Thursday, the storm system will weaken as it moves over the Tennessee River Valley, bringing mostly rain from MI southward to the Gulf Coast and some remaining snow only in the far northern parts of the country, he added.
"The heavy snow and visibility near zero will create extremely risky travel conditions, and power outages are also possible", according to the weather service. "Lots of blowing snow, lots of high winds, drifting snow".