What The “Bomb Cyclone” Means For Dexter

A “Bomb Cyclone” is exploding over the East Coast and its impact will be felt in Dexter.

It sounds like the end of the world: “Bombogenesis!”, “Cyclonegenesis!”, or “Bomb Cyclone!,” as it is being touted in the news. A sensational meteorological term can be exciting now and then to break up the predictable and rhythmic daily forecasts. But while “Bomb Cyclone” seems like a new fantastic description for our entertainment, surprisingly, the term has been around for decades.

The term “Bomb Cyclone” was actually coined back in the 1950’s by research meteorologists Fred Sanders and John Gyakum to describe what is essentially a winter hurricane – a mass of cold air colliding with a warm air mass, like over a warm ocean. The pressure (measured in millibars) rapidly drops in a 24-hour period, or “bombs out”, and the cyclone rapidly intensifies.

A Bomb Cyclone weather system produces high winds, heavy precipitation and even a storm surge. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) cautions for New England residents between January 3-5 (Mon-Fri) include:

  • Snowfall will increase northward into portions of the Mid-Atlantic and New England through Thursday. Blizzard conditions are possible close to the coast in portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
  • Confidence in heavy snowfall has increased for parts of the Northeast as the surface low is expected to track closer to the coast and intensify rapidly.
  • This system has the potential to produce strong, damaging winds, possibly resulting in downed trees and/or power outages.
  • Minor to major coastal flooding/erosion is possible due to a combination of high tides and wave action, especially this afternoon.
  • Warnings are in effect from the Mid-Atlantic northward through New England, which means hazardous conditions are imminent.

The graphic below shows the similarity a Bomb Cyclone has to summer hurricanes.

Wind gusts are predicted to reach 60-70 mph with wind chills -15 to -25.

What this means for Dexter is that the cyclonic activity out east will prevent the cold air from moving out of our region. High temps for Thu, Fri, and Sat are 8, 6, and 8 respectively with lows of -3, -7, and 0. Wind chills are predicted to be 5-15 below zero all day. Relief is expected Sunday with a high of 28 degrees.

As I type this, Meteorologist Brandon Roux of WDIV just announced we’ll probably set some records over the next few days. Great. But at least we’re not dealing with a “Bomb Tornado”, “Snowpocalyspe”, or “Shock ‘n Blow”. We’ll do what we always do – layer up and keep calm.

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