'Bomb Cyclone' and Record-Breaking Cold Coming for the East Coast
Forecasters are predicting a massive storm will bring sleet and snow from Florida to Maine. It started early on Wednesday with freezing rain and icy conditions in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. By Thursday, the storm will "resemble a winter hurricane" says The Washington Post. When the storm reaches New England, it will carry hurricane-strength winds in addition to armfuls of snow.
Meteorologists are calling the storm a "bomb cyclone." No, that's not the technical term for Geostorm's box office. It's so named because the storm will undergo what meteorologists call "bombogenesis," which is an intense and quick drop in atmospheric pressure. The pressure must drop at least 24 millibars in 24 hours for it to be considered bombogenesis. This kind of drastic pressure drop usually signals the rise of an intense storm.
This storm, which is being called Winter Storm Grayson, looks to be one of the most intense storms in decades for this area at this time of year. Though, the most intense parts of the storm are currently on track to stay over the Atlantic Ocean.
All day Thursday meteorologists are going to be glued to the new GOES-East satellite watching a truly amazing extratopical "bomb" cyclone off New England coast. It will be massive -- fill up entire Western Atlantic off U.S. East Coast. Pressure as low as Sandy & hurricane winds pic.twitter.com/6M4S3y75wT— Ryan Maue | weather.us (@RyanMaue) January 2, 2018
The storm landed in Florida early Wednesday, where the National Weather Service (NWS) issued winter storm watches. The NWS office in Tallahassee, Florida has issued its first winter storm warning in almost four years, reports Weather.com.
The storm will move all the way up the East Coast bringing advisories with it and intensifying as it moves northward. The NWS says the "worst conditions [are] expected along [the] immediate Eastern Seaboard from Carolinas to Maine."
The NWS in Boston noted its greatest concern is wind. "While specific snow amounts are uncertain, our biggest concern is the potential for damaging wind gusts especially near the southeast New England coast," the service wrote in a tweet. "Power outage risk followed by arctic air Fri/Sat a big concern!"
Snowfall projections range from one to three inches in the Carolinas to around seven inches in Boston, where winds could be strong enough to bring down branches.
However, as Andrew Freedman at Mashable points out, all of this depends on the track of the storm. "New York City is straddling the line between a heavy snowstorm and a moderate event," Freedman writes. "It would take another 50-mile shift westward in the storm track, which is entirely plausible at this point in the game, to put New York City in the crosshairs for heavy snow as well, and a 100-mile shift — which is also within the realm of possibility, would put inland areas in play, too."
[GREATEST CONCERN: THURSDAY] While specific snow amounts are uncertain, our biggest concern is the potential for damaging wind gusts especially near the southeast New England coast. Power outage risk followed by arctic air Fri/Sat a big concern!— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) January 2, 2018
As if that's not bad enough, the storm will be followed by extreme cold in the Northeast.
The strong winds will bring frigid arctic air southward. No, it's not fair. The cold could be record-setting for many cities in the Northeast starting Friday and running through the weekend, according to the The Washington Post. The temperatures are expected to be 20 to 40 degrees colder than average for this time of year.
Even in the first 12/28 entry offered, regardless of where this storm tracks, it was quite evident that EVERYTHING pours in behind it. Siberia, North Pole, Greenland. Everything. Severe cold snap behind this storm. Think power may go? Start planning... pic.twitter.com/ye85dPHjcW— crankyweatherguy (@crankywxguy) January 1, 2018
The silver lining is that after the misery of the weekend, things should get warmer.