Bomb Cyclone: What it is and where the term came from

You've probably heard or seen the term "bomb cyclone" in the news lately, especially with the temperatures dropping, snowstorms forming, and nor'easters threatening the New York City area. 

Yes, New York experiences bomb cyclones. So what exactly is a bomb cyclone and where did the term originate? Here is what you need to know. 

Where did the term bomb cyclone come from?

Bomb cyclone may seem like new terminology. But, actually, the terminology comes out of the expression bombogenesis — a rapidly intensifying storm system. Bombogenesis is officially defined as a rapid pressure drop of at least 24 millibars in 24 hours or less — indicative of a very intense storm.

Back into the 1970s, meteorologists would say, "That storm is bombing out" because it's intensifying so quickly.

The energy inside that storm is exploding. You have a very rapid drop in pressure in the center part of the storm and a very sharp increase in the wind speed around the storm. 

In the Northeast and metropolitan New York City area, we have bomb cyclones that are much more common when we go from the months of November right through even the months of March to the early part of April. 

Can a bomb cyclone also be a nor'easter?

Yes, we also refer to a lot of these bomb cyclones as nor'easters, also known as northeasters, which are potentially powerful storms affecting the East Coast of the United States and Canada where the strongest winds move in from the northeast.

It all depends on the intensity of how rapidly developing the storm is, how quickly the pressure is falling, and the result is the increasing wind speed. At times, these bomb cyclones can produce winds of over hurricane-force — over 75 to 80 mph.

This means that a bomb cyclone nor'easter snowstorm in winter can be especially intense and potentially dangerous. 

Nor'easters in NYC area: What you need to know

A nor'easter, also known as a northeaster, is a type of potentially powerful storm that affects the East Coast of the United States and Canada. The storms are known for especially impacting the very heavily populated region connecting Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. Here is more you need to know about how nor'easters affect the NYC area.

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