“The amount the ground can soak up is limited, because it is so wet, but that’s a lot better than having it frozen, because frozen ground is like a parking lot,” Mr. Pearson added. “Water just flows right off.”
Over all, he said, the storm does not seem as powerful at this point as the March tempest, “but it still has a lot of moisture and lot of potential to cause a lot of problems,” he said. “It’s still going to pack a punch.”
Forecasters say that for a storm to officially qualify as a bomb cyclone, the atmospheric pressure must drop at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, creating a particularly strong and rapidly intensifying storm. This one might not produce quite that steep a pressure drop, they say.
But temperatures are set to plunge quickly just the same, as a low-pressure system drawing in moisture to the Midwest is displaced by a high-pressure system full of colder air. Omaha, for example, is predicted to see its daytime high temperature fall from almost 80 degrees on Monday to about 40 degrees on Friday.
The bigger flood risk this time may center on the Mississippi River and its swollen tributaries rather than the Missouri River, where levels have been receding, said Jeff Berardelli, a meteorologist.
“It will be a more prolific snow producer and a more blinding blizzard than the bomb cyclone was,” Mr. Berardelli said of the new storm, partly because it may idle over much of the Midwest for a time.
“It’s likely going to slow down and stall,” he said. “Literally, the storm will barely move.”
But like Mr. Pearson, Mr. Berardelli said that a higher proportion of snow than rain may be a good thing.
“If it melts over a longer period of time, that would be better,” he said. “We don’t want it all happening in a day or two.”