‘Bomb cyclone’ winter storm to hit US East Coast: What is it?

Bundle up! Brutal winter weather – with strong winds, snow and subzero temperatures – is expected to hit much of the eastern U.S. this week, including parts of the South.

The National Weather Service warned of a wintry mix expected along much of the Atlantic seaboard – from Florida to North Carolina – before it rapidly strengthens at sea.

This storm has been dubbed a “bomb cyclone” or “bombogenesis” by meteorologists as it is expected to rapidly intensify.

What is a “bombogenesis”?

The term “bombogenesis” is used by meteorologists to refer to a rapidly intensifying area of low pressure, Fox News’ Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean said Wednesday.

“The central pressure of an area of low pressure (winter storm) must drop at least 24 millibars in 24 hours to qualify,” Dean explained.

“The cold air from Canada combined with the warmer ocean waters of the Gulf Stream is what will trigger this explosive strengthening pattern.”

– Fox News’ Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean

A millibar is the measurement of atmospheric pressure, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“In this case, with a nor’easter, the cold air from Canada combined with the warmer ocean waters of the Gulf Stream is what will trigger this explosive strengthening pattern,” Dean said.

What does that mean for this winter storm?

The NWS has issued a Winter Storm Warning for all of Southeast Georgia, Interstate 10 corridor in Northeast Florida, and portions of the North and South Carolina costs due to the possibility of ice and snow. The agency warned also of heavy snow from the mid-Atlantic to the New England coast.

Winter weather warnings have been issued for most of the U.S. eastern coast.  (Fox News)

“The storm will then have explosive strengthening over the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic, bringing hurricane force winds and blizzard conditions for parts of coastal New England tomorrow,” Dean said Wednesday.

As the exact track of this storm is still yet to be determined, Dean said people “should be prepared” for a variety of situations, including power outages and severe windchills below zero.

The NWS warned the “greatest concern” for the southeast New England area is “the potential for damaging wind gusts.” Power outage is also a concern, the NWS said.

Is this storm unusual?

It’s not unusual to get at least one storm that is classified as a “bomb cyclone” a year, Bryan Jackson, a meteorologist with NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center, told Fox News.

What is unique about this storm, though, is that it is developing so far south, Jackson said. Normally, these storms can form around Washington, D.C., or further north.

And while the storm is fairly developed, Jackson said it would only “take a little wobble” to push it further west, causing major metropolitan areas to experience a “major winter storm,” he said.

Fox News’ Travis Fedschun contributed to this report, along with the Associated Press. 

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/01/03/bomb-cyclone-winter-storm-to-hit-us-east-coast-what-is-it.html

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