Bomb cyclone: The insane winter storm explained

A plane sits on the tarmac at Ronald Reagan Airport near Washington D.C. before departure Jan. 4 2018

Forecasters have called Winter Storm "Grayson" a "bomb cyclone", as its steep drop in pressure helped create winds gusting at as high as 50 miles per hour.

Southern cities were not immune from the winter storm.

New York City is being hit by an East Coast "bomb cyclone" today. A storm is considered a "bomb" when the pressure drops rapidly - at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. Simply put, it's going to be cold tomorrow for those on the East Coast, particularly for people located further north, and there could be a lot of snow in places and it'll be very windy.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a rapidly deepening area of low pressure just off the East Coast of Florida will move northeastward to the Canadian Maritimes by Friday.

Meteorologists have used the term "bomb" for storms for decades, based on a strict definition, said University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Jason Furtado. As the storm strengthens, wind and precipitation spike.

The biggest concern arising out of this storm will be the winds that will batter the coasts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland.

"Some computer models are projecting a minimum central air pressure of below 950 millibars at its peak, which would be almost unheard of for this part of the world outside of a hurricane", wrote Mashable's Andrew Freedman.

Many governors or local leaders have declared emergencies, and blizzard warnings were in effect in Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Bomb cyclone: The insane winter storm explained
Bomb cyclone: The insane winter storm explained

The service also said Atlantic City could record up to 18 inches of snow, DE beach towns were facing the prospect of a foot of snow and travel has become "very unsafe to impossible" in the highly populated Hampton Roads region of Virginia, which could receive up to 12 inches of snow in places.

The weather service is warning drivers to prepare for hard travel conditions. In this case, it means extra cold Arctic air because of where the polar vortex is, Furtado said.

Temperature wise: it's going to be cold.

"Record low daytime temperatures Friday and Saturday behind the "bomb cyclone" in the Northeast".

In other parts of the United States, dangerously cold temperatures have been blamed for at least a dozen deaths as well as freezing a water tower in Iowa and halting ferry services in NY. Locations circled indicate coldest on record.

Forecasters cautioned there is still some uncertainty in the exact track of the storm as it approaches New England. Temperatures are running well below normal for this time of year, and the lows are expected to hover right around freezing.

Any storm can potentially knock out power, especially when there is ice and high winds involved, and that's a serious issue if it is single-digit or sub-zero temperatures.

Top wind gust is forecast for Friday evening from the American (GFS) model.

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