What is the ‘bomb cylone’ hitting the US this week?

Winter Snow Storm
Cars drive through a winter snow storm, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. on South Main Street in Pittston, Pa. Snow from a mild but widespread winter storm began falling Saturday over most of the Northeast and the upper Ohio River Valley, the second in less than a week for the regions. (AP Photo/The Citizens’ Voice, Ralph Francello) MANDATORY CREDIT Ralph Francello

What is the ‘bomb cylone’ hitting the US this week?

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As major Winter Storm Elliott is expected to make landfall this week across the Midwest and the East Coast, here are some details about what makes a “bomb cyclone.”

A bomb cyclone refers to a rapidly strengthening storm in which pressure drops 24 millibars within 24 hours. Initially called “rapidly deepening storms,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorologists Fred Sanders and John Gyakum added the term “bomb” due to the explosive energy that these storms have from rapid pressure drops.

WINTER STORMS PELT NORTHEAST AHEAD OF CHRISTMAS, KNOCKING OUT POWER

The bomb cyclone will vary in how fast it strengthens based upon its latitude, as well, per a 1980 edition of the Monthly Weather Review.

Temperatures across the Midwest are expected to hit close to or below freezing, with Chicago expecting minus 12 degrees Fahrenheit on Christmas Day.

The National Weather Service said the storm hit the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies sometime on Tuesday, landing in the Midwest on Thursday. In the Midwest, parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio can expect blizzard conditions, frigid weather, and heavy snowfall.

Brutally cold and forceful winds from the storm are expected to strike parts of Texas and the East Coast over the coming days.

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Weather services and AAA are advising against traveling for the holiday season. But for the over 100 million people expected to travel, airlines are offering to waive travel change fees for those looking to cancel or modify their flights.

AAA found that 90% of people are expected to travel at least 50 miles or more by car.

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