What Is A Bomb Cyclone? Bundle Up, Because This Is Gonna Suck
2018, thus far, has been one freezing day after another. It's only been two days! you might be saying, which, fair? (Actually, it's been 10 days since this chill fell across the States. But I digress.) The deep freeze we've been suffering from is about to get worse. The Washington Post reports that something called a "bomb cyclone" is about to hit the East Coast. And it's gonna suuuuuck.
Starting sometime on Wednesday, Jan. 3, the east coast — from Florida to Maine — should expect a storm that will bring wind, freezing rain, snow, record-breaking low temperatures, and general misery due to a confluence of freakish atmospheric conditions. (Well, not so much freakish as related-to-climate-change.)
The Post has reported on Jan. 2 that what is essentially a winter hurricane is starting to build off the coast of Florida: first, the East Coast, from Georgia to Maine, will be pummeled by ice and snow. Florida and Georgia will see freezing rain and sleet; Washington, D.C. and Baltimore will likely get some snow; and by Thursday, snow will blanket the mid-Atlantic and New England. In fact, if you live in New England, you might want to prep for blizzard conditions — including winds strong enough to fell branches.
Then, the insane drop in atmospheric pressure will lead to record-breaking low temperatures across the east by Friday, Jan. 5. Per the Post,
Temperatures are forecast to be 20 to 40 degrees below normal, the coldest of the winter so far....Most locations in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are predicted to set records for cold temperatures on Friday with highs in the single digits and teens.
Single. Digits. And. Teens. To say nothing of the sub-zero temperatures in New England.
Freaking bundle up, guys. And then turn on your space heaters, grab three blankets, and hunker down for the weekend, because it's about to get shittay. Alternatively, blow your savings and head south to, like, Cancún.
Also, a hefty ugh to the scientists who came up with the phrase "bomb cyclone." Sounds super cool, right? Like a devious weather-pattern-altering weapon that some super villain got their hands on. (Like, totally something Cobra would try to use before G.I. Joe came in and saved the day last minute, just as the bomb cyclone ray-gun was heating up, mere seconds from blasting off into the atmosphere. I dunno. I haven't put any thought into it or anything.)
Hurricane expert Greg Postel said on Twitter that, if the storm meets expectations, it'll be one of the worst in modern history. He tweeted, "I can't think of any extratropical cyclone in recent times at that magnitude off the East Coast."
And while some, like the actual president of the United States, would have you believe that the record-breaking chill means there's no such thing as "global warming" (or climate change), that's not the case. In fact, a weather event of this magnitude could very well indicate the growing threat of man-made climate change.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administation's National Climactic Data Center, extreme winter weather has increased in frequency as the climate has changed — due in large part to the warming of the ocean surface, which can lead to "exceptionally high amounts of moisture flowing into a storm and contribute to greater intensification of the storm."
But sure, the man who has tweeted skeptically about global warming more than 115 times — including at least one instance in which he called it a Chinese hoax — probably knows more than the freaking NOAA. Mm-hmm.
But that's neither here nor there. What is important is that we're likely about to be assaulted by some winter precipitation. And if this happens the way it's predicted, I will never complain about 30-degree winter days again. Promise.