What Is A Bomb Cyclone? What To Know About Upcoming Storm In New England


Northeast U.S. Digs Out After  "Bomb Cyclone" Snowstorm

Photo: Getty Images

The terms "bomb cyclone" is being used to describe the winter storms expected to hit the East Coast, including the New England area, over the weekend.

But what exactly is a "bomb cyclone."

The National Ocean Service defines a bomb cyclone, or "bombogenesis" as its commonly referred to by meteorologists, as an occurrence that takes place, "when a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours. A millibar measures atmospheric pressure."

"This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters," the website states. "The formation of this rapidly strengthening weather system is a process called bombogenesis, which creates what is known as a bomb cyclone."

CNN reports the nor'easter storm could effect as many as 75 million people from the Carolinas to New England with heavy snow and winds at hurricane intensity expected, bringing the possibility of power outages, flooding and severe travel issues.

The storm is expected to hit the coast of the Carolinas Friday (January 28) and migrate up to the Northeast overnight into Saturday (January 29).

Blizzard warnings are currently in effect for 4 million individuals in coastal areas in New England, as well as from New Jersey to Maryland, CNN reports.

Whiteout conditions are also expected to cause traffic issues, according to the National Weather Service.

High winds leading to blowing snow is expected in Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts, as well as several other major cities along the East Coast.

Eastern Massachusetts is expected to get between 18 to 24 inches of snow and up to 70 MPH wind gusts. Similar weather patterns are also being predicted in Rhode Island.

Connecticut is expected to get up to 55 MPH winds.

"The heaviest snowfall is likely to fall across a swath extending from the Eastern Shore of Maryland up through most of Maine where 6-12 inches are likely. Parts of coastal New England, where blizzard conditions are forecast, may see between 1-2 feet of snow with locally higher amounts possible, specifically over coastal Massachusetts," the Weather Prediction Center said early Friday via CNN.

"Powerful winter storm to produce significant impacts across parts of New England and coastal Mid-Atlantic/Northeast on Saturday," the Weather Prediction Center added.

A snow storm is considered a blizzard when winds exceed 35 MPH for more than three hours, leading to visibility of less than a quarter mile.


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