What is a ‘bomb cyclone’ and what happens when it arrives?

Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP
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What Is A Bomb Cyclone?

Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

What exactly is a “bomb cyclone?”

The ominous name “bomb cyclone” comes from a process called explosive cyclogenesis, or bombogenesis, in which a weather system undergoes a rapid drop in pressure. 

Bombogenesis occurs “when a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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A millibar measures atmospheric pressure. A drop in pressure in a system equals strengthening of the system. 

Think of it as a winter hurricane.

Such weather systems in the northern hemisphere are centers of low pressure. When the pressure drops, the storms get stronger. When they drop in such a dramatic fashion over a short period of time, the results are equally dramatic.

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