National Guard troops were using specialized vehicles to rescue stranded drivers in Colorado as a powerful "bomb cyclone" was expected to continue its march Thursday, unleashing heavy rain and snow on the Midwest plains.
The storm, which blasted a mix of snow, rain and wind across the central United States on Wednesday, was blamed for a crash that killed a Colorado State Patrol trooper.
More than 1,300 flights had been canceled at Denver International Airport, where a wind gust of 80 mph was reported Wednesday morning. All runways at the airport were closed around early afternoon and remained closed into Wednesday evening.
About 3,000 flights were canceled across the nation, according to flightaware.com.
Late Wednesday, about 111,000 Denver-area residents were without power, down from 246,000 in the afternoon. Interstates were shut down, most schools were closed and many businesses declared a snow day. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency in the evening, activating the state national guard for search and rescue missions.
Earlier in the day, Cpl. Daniel Groves was killed on Interstate 76 after a driver lost control of his vehicle in the storm and hit him. Groves had been helping another driver who slid off the highway, the state patrol said.
In addition to road closures in Colorado and Wyoming, the Nebraska State Patrol closed Interstate 80 from the Wyoming border east to North Platte, as well as all state highways in the Nebraska Panhandle. Officials ordered flooding evacuations in areas including Cedar Rapids and Belgrade, The Omaha World-Herald reported, as well as low-lying parts of Randolph and Pierce.