A day after bringing havoc to the Rocky Mountains, a powerful winter storm rolled across the Midwest on Wednesday, threatening to scramble Thanksgiving plans for millions of people during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, the AP reports. The storm, which was blamed for one death and hundreds of canceled flights, pushed east into South Dakota, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. But the West was not free of heavy weather. A “bomb cyclone” phenomenon was expected to topple trees and knock out power in California and Oregon. "It's one of those things, you couldn't make it up if you tried," National Weather Service meteorologist Brent Hewett said of back-to-back storms forming around the holiday.
The bomb cyclone—a system that brings a rapid drop in air pressure—brought snow to the mountains and wind and rain along the California and Oregon coasts. Snow and downed trees and power lines closed multiple roads in southern Oregon. Others were reduced to a single lane, the state Department of Transportation said. The system could generate waves of up to 35 feet, wind gusts of up to 75 mph, and heavy snow in the mountains. Meanwhile, parts of the Midwest expected more than a foot of wind-whipped snow. The one-two punch made travel difficult or impossible in some places. Even those who left early were confronted with icy and snow-covered roads. Stranded travelers took shelter at hotels. Before it’s over, the storm’s effects could extend to New England, where a chance of snow was possible over the weekend. (Hundreds of flights have been canceled, and a Thanksgiving tradition could be impacted.)