What is a ‘bomb cyclone’ and what will happen when it arrives?


A winter storm set to hit the East Coast beginning Wednesday could break all-time record cold temperatures by the end of the week.

The term “bomb cyclone” has been trending on social media as the storm threatens to push frigid temperatures as far south as northern Florida.

The ominous name “bomb cyclone” comes from a process called explosive cyclogenesis, or bombogenesis, in which a weather system undergoes a rapid drop in pressure. 

Bombogenesis occurs “when a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

A millibar measures atmospheric pressure. A drop in pressure in a system equals strengthening of the system. 

Such weather systems in the northern hemisphere are centers of low pressure. When the pressure drops, the storms get stronger. When they drop in such a dramatic fashion over a short period of time, the results are equally dramatic.

Think of it as a winter hurricane.

Some forecast models put the potential pressure reading of the storm around 950 millibars at its peak. A category 3 hurricane has a minimum surface pressure of 964-945 millibars

What will happen when it hits?

The extreme weather will come in two parts. First, the winter storm will bring rain, sleet and snow to the eastern coast of the United States from northern Florida to Maine. Then a “polar vortex” will sweep south across the region dropping temperatures to record low levels, according to forecasters.

With the approaching weather system, a warning has been issued for winds up to 55 mph, near blizzard conditions in some areas and record-breaking low temperatures. The National Weather Service said areas in northern Florida and southeastern Georgia could see up to an inch of snow and ice on the roadways early Wednesday. The NWS said wind chills of minus 50 degrees could be seen in northern New York by Saturday morning.

 

The NWS national forecast Wednesday said:


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

COMMENTARY: Want to see grit in action? Meet our immigrants

He’s one of the finest surgeons in Dayton (I won’t embarrass him by using his name) and patients are referred to him from all over our region. And he came to the Miami Valley as a refugee from a war-torn nation in West Africa. You know, one of those places Donald Trump insulted with a term this newspaper won’t print. Trump’s...
Wells Fargo customers find accounts drained by mistaken double charges
Wells Fargo customers find accounts drained by mistaken double charges

Some Wells Fargo customers found their bank accounts drained to zero Wednesday when some sort of glitch caused their online bill payments to be processed twice. Numerous customers -- so many that Wells Fargo’s customer service phone lines were jammed Wednesday night -- were discovering that recent payments they had made using the bank’s...
Suspect sought after stealing SUV, abandoning children on freezing roads
Suspect sought after stealing SUV, abandoning children on freezing roads

Authorities in Clayton County, Georgia, are searching for the person they say stole an SUV with two children inside from a gas station Wednesday before abandoning them in below-freezing temperatures on major roadways. One-month-old Ava Wilmer and 4-year-old Arya Davenport were found miles apart after mother Precious Wilmer’s 2009 Chevy Equinox...
Trump White House exposé ‘Fire and Fury’ could be TV series
Trump White House exposé ‘Fire and Fury’ could be TV series

“Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” could be adapted from a book to a TV series. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the rights to the controversial Michael Wolff exposé of the Trump White House has been purchased by Endeavor Content for TV and film. Endeavor Content was created in 2017 as talent agency WME and talent...
Dog found covered in icicles, sores, needs forever home
Dog found covered in icicles, sores, needs forever home

A firefighter was driving home from work when he saw a dog in the middle of the road. While many drivers honked their horns and continued past the dog, the firefighter, Justin Luttrell, stopped.  >> Read more trending news   “She was freezing, shaking and terrified -- it was written all over her face with her tail tucked...
More Stories