Linda Hurth, in the driver's seat, tells her husband, Ed McCaffrey, when to push as they try to get her car unstuck from the snow on Wednesday, March 13, in Nederland, Colorado. Blizzard warnings were issued across the state.
Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images

'Bomb cyclone' blasts through central US

Updated 1:51 PM ET, Thu March 14, 2019

Linda Hurth, in the driver's seat, tells her husband, Ed McCaffrey, when to push as they try to get her car unstuck from the snow on Wednesday, March 13, in Nederland, Colorado. Blizzard warnings were issued across the state.
Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images

A "bomb cyclone" has unleashed hurricane-force winds and blizzard conditions in parts of the central United States, stranding travelers and leaving thousands without power.

A bomb cyclone occurs when there is a rapid pressure drop, with a decrease of at least 24 millibars -- a measure of atmospheric pressure -- over 24 hours.

In Colorado, the severe weather forced law enforcement officers to abandon their vehicles and take shelter instead of responding to motor vehicle accidents, officials said.