Hold on to your hats, folks! The East Coast is starting the new year off with a bang as it braces for a massive burst of extreme weather and blizzard conditions this week.
Ridiculously cold temperatures have been plaguing much of the United States since winter started a few weeks ago, and now meteorologists say it’s about to get much worse. Winter Storm Grayson will undergo a phenomenon called “bomb cyclone” — a weather event that will cause hurricane-force winds and more than 6 inches of snow in the Northeast.
Starting Wednesday, the explosive weather system will bring a mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow to northern Florida and North Carolina and will intensify as it reaches the mid-Atlantic near northern New England by late Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
There are more than a few simulations that drop pressures under 950hPa. I can't think of any extratropical cyclone in recent times at that magnitude off the East Coast …. ? Of course it may not get there, but still #nywx #njwx #ncwx #scwx #flwx #gawx #ctwx #mawx #mewx pic.twitter.com/WXi1YGQXmz
— Greg Postel (@GregPostel) January 2, 2018
But what’s so crazy about this storm and what are these scary-sounding terms being thrown around like “bomb cyclone” and “bombogenesis?”
Bombogenesis may not be an official meteorological term, but experts use it anyway. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the phenomenon occurs when a cyclone (or storm) rapidly intensifies and atmospheric pressure drops by at least 24 millibars in a 24-hour period. This rapid drop is what’s known as a bomb cyclone.
These events actually take place pretty frequently off the Atlantic Coast and typically happen when a mass of cold air moving over land collides with a mass of warm ocean air.
At the storm’s peak, experts say it will resemble a “winter hurricane” – with especially strong winds that could take down trees, cause power outages and lead to coastal flooding.
“These strong winter systems are notorious for packing big winds and waves to go along with heavy snow!” according to a tweet by the NWS, which is urging residents to avoid travel if possible.
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