What exactly is this "Bomb Cyclone"?


Many of you are already aware of the current storm system moving towards the northeast. This system will bring inches, if not, feet of snow to areas along the northern east coast along with strong, hurricane force winds today.

What you may not know is the term, "Bomb Cyclone", which is being used a lot to describe this weather phenomenon.

Let's start by breaking down the phrase into two separate words, "Bomb" and "Cyclone".

A Cyclone is another way to describe low-pressure systems which typically cause us inclement weather. All cyclones move the same general direction in the northern hemisphere but where they differ is how they interact with the current atmospheric variables.

Bomb is short for Bombogenesis; which is a fairly popular term among meteorologists. The term is defined by when a mid-latitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars in over 24 hours. A millibar measures atmospheric pressure.

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As these rapidly strengthening weather systems take form, this creates what is known as the "Bomb Cyclone". This is actually a real term but it hasn't had the chance to break out into the media until now.

So now you may be wondering, well isn't this also the same as a Nor'easter? Yes, that is correct.

For those of you that don't know what that is, it's a storm along the east coast of the U.S. It's called this because the winds over the coastal area are usually from the northeast.

The origin of these types of storms usually develop in the latitudes between Georgia and New Jersey, either along or up to 100 miles both east and west of the coast. Typically these storms are most active between September and April.

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So what makes this storm system so special to get the name "Bomb Cyclone"? Well, I believe partially because not only is it the first Nor'easter of the year but it has also originated further south than these typical storm systems.

Essentially, this allows a system to strengthen more due to the tighter temperature gradient--large difference in warm and cold air masses which creates a stronger storm.

These are actually fairly common for the northeast during these months, so it's not as rare as what you may think. The term "Bomb Cyclone" is just a term that has gone viral to describe this Nor'easter.

If you have any questions regarding the subject matter, feel free to email me at ross.caruso@10tv.com.