The US East Coast is bracing itself for a “bomb cyclone” (Nor’easter) that is on course to to barrel in from the mid-Atlantic.
- Bombogenesis is the technical term. ‘Bomb cyclone’ is a shortened version of it, better for social media.”
- It is a mid-latitude cyclone that intensifies rapidly.
- It has low pressure at its center, weather fronts and an array of associated weather, from blizzards to severe thunderstorms to heavy precipitation.
- Generally, a bomb cyclone happens when atmospheric pressure in the middle of the storm drops at least 24 millibars over 24 hours, quickly increasing in intensity. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.
- It essentially amounts to a rapidly developing storm system, distinct from a tropical hurricane because it occurs over midlatitudes where fronts of warm and cold air meet and collide, rather than relying on the balmy ocean waters of late summer as a catalyst.
- Bomb cyclones have cold air and fronts: Cold air rapidly weakens hurricanes, while it is an essential ingredient for bomb cyclones.
- Bomb cyclones form during winter: Hurricanes form from late spring to early fall, while bomb cyclones form from late fall to early spring.
- Bomb cyclones form at higher latitudes: Hurricanes form in tropical waters, while bomb cyclones form over the northwestern Atlantic, northwestern Pacific and sometimes the Mediterranean Sea.