Winter storm Stella: What’s a ‘weather bomb’?

A nor’easter is setting up shop to dump over two feet of snow in the northeast Monday night, and forecasters are using the term weather bomb to describe the event. 

But what does that mean?

Winter Storm Stella could undergo a process called bombogenesis, reports the Weather Channel, where the system ‘bombs out.’ It’s similar to what happens when a low-pressure tropical system hits warm water and winds, causing the pressure to drop and strengthening the storm’s winds and precipitation to form a hurricane, except in this case, the winter low-pressure storm system enters the ocean and hits the boundary where a cold and warm front meet, causing the pressure to drop and strengthening the storm’s winds and precipitation. 

To qualify as a bombogenesis, the pressure has to drop 24 millibars within 24 hours. This causes a rapid strengthening of the storm, bringing hurricane force winds and a large amount of snow that together create blizzard conditions. There is even the possibility of thundersnow with these storms, and higher tides may cause some coastal erosion.



Krista's a freelance proofreader and writer who spends most days eyeballing medical texts, others crafting stories for teen games. Sometimes she even makes a few bucks with photography. One thing's always true--she's got a hot geek streak for historical and scientific discovery.

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