'Bomb cyclone' hits US East Coast, emergency declared in several states

Posted January 14, 2018

Farther north, parts of Savannah and coastal Georgia saw up to 3 inches of snow, which closed Savannah Hilton Head International Airport. (The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.) This particular bomb cyclone sweeping through the East Coast is forecasted to drop by 36 millibars, which is a lot.

"Very anomalous and potent winter storm system now developing as it moves northward towards New England bringing multiple hazards: moderate to heavy snow, low visibility, strong to damaging winds, coastal flooding, and hazardous seas", the National Weather Service said.

A blizzard warning was issued on Wednesday for Norfolk, Virginia, and parts of coastal ME and MA. A cyclogenesis is the development of a cyclone, or a storm system.

The Atlantic seaboard is being impacted by the first major Winter storm of the season. Residents of southeast Georgia were treated to a rare half foot of snow (15 centimeters).

On Thursday, more than 5,500 businesses and homes were reported to be without power in Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the tip of Cape Cod where hurricane-force winds were in play.

As of Wednesday, most states in the storm's path were not experiencing unusual lows. Current computer models suggest most, if not all, snowfall will occur east of Washington and Baltimore on Wednesday night into early Thursday. Some schools, especially east of the city, could delay or close Thursday (SchoolCast to be posted by 6 p.m. Wednesday).

When a storm undergoes a rapid pressure drop, that's known as "explosive bombogenesis". Various models agreed that [the storm's] surface low would deepen by an astounding 30-40 millibars or more from late Wednesday to late Thursday, more than qualifying the midlatitude cyclone as a meteorological "bomb" (defined as 24 millibars of deepening in 24 hours). Hurricane Sandy, which had tropical characteristics, ruling it out as a direct comparison, had a minimum central air pressure of 946 millibars when it made landfall in New Jersey in October 2012.

In the next 12 hours the storm intensifies, as shown by the lowering air pressure.

The National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories and freeze warnings covering a vast area from South Texas to Canada and from Montana through New England. B y Friday night, the low forecast for NY is 3 degrees with wind gusts of up to 34 miles per hour, according to the NWS.

Power outages affected tens of thousands in the South.

The storm's enormous circulation will help draw several lobes of the polar vortex, the zone of frigid air encircling the North Pole, over the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast by Friday and Saturday.

Even more locations will not escape the cold; the mercury should be dipping into the single digits in Baltimore and Washington, DC during the weekend, about 20 degrees below normal for this time of year.

The storm caps a week of brutal cold across the nation that has left at least 17 people dead.