Recalling when Storm Ulmer underwent bombogenesis and caused historic flooding

Randi Mann
·3 min read
Recalling when Storm Ulmer underwent bombogenesis and caused historic flooding
Recalling when Storm Ulmer underwent bombogenesis and caused historic flooding
Recalling when Storm Ulmer underwent bombogenesis and caused historic flooding

Listen to The Weather Network's This Day in Weather History podcast on this topic, here.

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The March 2019 North American blizzard was a Colorado low that brought snow across the Plains and the Prairies. The storm came with strong winds and blizzard conditions, but the most significant impact followed the storm when all the snow melted and caused historic flooding.

The system started on March 8 in the Gulf of Alaska. On March 11, the system moved southeastward, bringing strong winds and heavy rain to California. That day, the storm was dubbed "Winter Storm Ulmer" because it was predicted that the storm would have a significant impact.

On March 12, the system continued to gain strength. That night and into the 13, the low underwent explosive intensification, which sounds as aggressive as it is. "Explosive intensification" is also called "bombogenesis" or "a weather bomb." They all are referring to the rapid deepening of an extratropical cyclonic low-pressure area.

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To learn more about what warrants a bombogenesis, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Onto the impact.

In the U.S., at least 1 million acres of farmland across nine major grain-producing states were flooded.

Iowa was highly impacted by the flooding. Iowa's Governor, Kim Reynolds, issued a state of emergency on March 14. The flooding in the state was reported as "catastrophic." In the Missouri River Valley, at least 30 levees failed, which caused towns and highways to flood.

Colorado received heavy snow and hurricane-force winds. Some gusts reached 180 km/h. Denver received 150 to 250 mm of snow. Due to the extreme wind and snowy conditions, all flights in and out of Denver International Airport were cancelled. The snow left at least 1,000 people stranded on the highways, and the National Guard had to come to rescue them.

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In New Mexico, there were wind gusts of 160 km/h, powerful thunderstorms, and damaging tornadoes.

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In Canada, Ontario and Quebec experienced their warmest days in weeks. In Ontario, the Humber River flooded and 200 people had to be evacuated.

Atlantic Canada received above seasonal temperatures and heavy rain. Though Labrador received up to 30 cm of snow.

The storm then headed out to sea and dissipated on Mar. 16.

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Thumbnail: Bellevue, Nebraska - Courtesy Bellevue Police Department