A monster snowstorm is heading up the East Coast, setting its sights on the Northeast with heavy snow, high winds, ice, and warnings about a “bombogensis” or “bomb cyclone” that could form off the coast of New England on Thursday.
So, how much snow is expected to fall in the New England states, and what is a bomb cyclone? Here’s what you need to know about the first big snowstorm of 2018, one that may leave many without power and will undoubtedly create headaches for travelers.
Ryan Maue of Weather Us calls the storm, dubbed Winter Storm Grayson, “massive” and warns that hurricane winds are on the way for the New England coast.
“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,” Maue tweeted. “It will be massive — fill up entire Western Atlantic off U.S. East Coast. Pressure as low as Sandy & hurricane winds.”
In other words, anyone who lives in New England, and the Northeast for that matter, should pay careful attention to any warnings issued by the National Weather Service.
What is a bomb cyclone?
The bomb cyclone — or “bombogenesis” — is a significant weather event that follows almost two weeks of single-digit temperatures in the Northeast.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a bomb cyclone is “basically a winter hurricane” — a term that will have people hustling to the store to make sure they get water, batteries, flashlights, and other winter gear that may help them in the event of a prolonged power outage.
A bomb cyclone occurs “when a mid-latitude cyclone rapidly intensifies,” NOAA states, “or quickly drops in atmospheric pressure, marking the strengthening of the storm. This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters.”
“The winds can be strong enough to bring down trees and cause structural damage.”
National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Hurley tells the Associated Press that as the storm heads towards New England early Thursday morning, New England will see “blizzard-like conditions.”
Maximum deepening rate over 24-hours is forecast to be 45 millibars — which puts the storm in the upper echelon of “bomb cyclones” — simply a more extreme variety of “cold season” storm that usually harmless mix fish, generate huge waves, and do their job of moving Earth’s heat pic.twitter.com/MmNXljhXTa
— Ryan Maue | weather.us (@RyanMaue) January 3, 2018
How much snow will fall in New England?
In addition to the wind, people who live in parts of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine will get the brunt of the storm.
The National Weather Service reports that 8 to 12-inches of snow are expected in eastern Massachusetts, eastern Connecticut, Maine, and all of Rhode Island, with some areas getting as much as 14-inches.
“Near blizzard conditions are likely in this region. Significant reductions in visibility are possible with near white-out conditions for a time Thursday.”
Snow is expected to start in many parts of New England around 1 a.m. on Thursday and end by 1 a.m. on Friday, January 5.